Antisocial Housing

, , , | Right | March 10, 2020

(I work for a social housing company. Social Housing means houses for people with little income, who can get government support. They are normal houses, sometimes a bit smaller than houses you can buy. In some cases, there is a dire need for people to move to a different house and they can request “Urgency.” This means they can bypass waiting lists — about eight to ten years depending on where you live as there is a huge shortage of social houses in the Netherlands! — and can move more than once within a few months. However, rules are very strict and you can’t be picky. After all, you need a house, not a castle. A woman calls, requesting urgency.)

Me: “All right, let’s check the rules. Why would you need urgency?”

Woman: “Well, my husband is terribly ill and will no longer get better. He also can’t walk up the stairs any more. We had to put his bed in the living room, the poor soul.”

Me: “I am so sorry to hear that.”

Woman: “Yes, my husband needs a lot of care. We did request a little stair-case elevator, but they said it would be pointless. They said we need to move, so he can have a calm time for what he has left.”

Me: “Well, miss, I checked your data and it looks like you can apply for urgency. I will send you the forms. Just to be clear, I can’t guarantee you will receive urgency and we won’t have influence on it. This goes by a separate council who specialises in urgency.”

Woman: “I understand.” *gives address so I can send the form* “I hope we can move soon; my husband would love to have a new garden.”

Me: “I hope so, too, but I can’t promise you will get a home with a garden.”

Woman: *irate* “Why not?!”

Me: “Usually, people who get granted urgency get urgency for an apartment or flat. Some are on the ground floor, so you won’t need an elevator. Some have gardens, but you can’t request it.”

Woman: “But I’m leaving behind a big house! With a garden! I demand a garden!”

Me: “Urgency is about a roof above your head, miss; you can’t ask for specific housing.”

Woman: “Well, I… And a flat?! Who wants to live in a flat?! I live in a decent neighbourhood! I can’t live in a flat!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but like said, urgency is so you can bypass all those who have waited for years and quickly get a new roof. There are more flats available than houses.”

Woman: “No, no, I won’t accept that! I want a house with a garden. Or else I won’t even fill in the forms!”

Me: “That is your choice, miss. I can’t force you.”

Woman: “Well, I guess my husband will have to keep on sleeping in the living room until he dies! I hope they are happy now! Good day!”

(She hung up. I needed a little moment before I could take the next call. We never got the forms.)

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