Finance

Disabled Robin ends up on the street, threatens to lose a scooter

Robin de Jong, 47, has been homeless for two weeks. It is yet another setback for him after four tough years. It started in 2017, when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Due to an operation, his pelvis is crooked, which means that he can no longer walk properly.

Fortunately, through the WMO, which stands for Social Support Act, he received a scooter from the municipality of Purmerend in addition to domestic help.

No address, no help

Robin divorced his ex in 2019. He then quickly found a temporary home in the same community, not far from his old home. This allowed him to keep his scooter. “I am very happy with it. I can do my own shopping with it, I can be self-reliant,” says Robin.

But his lease expired last month, so he’s out on the street now. Without an address you are not entitled to WMO. If things don’t change soon, he’ll have to hand in his scooter.

Sleeping with friends

Robin tried to get urgency for social housing, but it was rejected. He is ‘insufficiently disabled’. That’s why he now sleeps with friends, where he can stay.

But those friends don’t live near Purmerend. Due to his limitation it is difficult to have to travel every time. But what he finds much worse: he sees his son, who lives with his mother, less as a result.

Robin: “If you can’t see your own son through no fault of your own, I find that distressing. That just shouldn’t happen.”

Housing shortage for people with disabilities

According to Elke(in), the umbrella organization that stands up for the interests of people with disabilities, Robin is one of the many disabled people who get into trouble on the housing market.

“With a disability it is difficult to get a medical urgency. And there are very few adapted homes,” says Anneke van der Vlist, who is involved with housing at Elke(in).

Role of municipalities

She denounces the attitude of many congregations. Because of the WMO, they have to take care of people like Robin. But in practice the opposite happens.

As a result, Robin currently has no address. And without an address, he has no right to aids. “I think it’s absurd that you are treated like a resident of a municipality.”

‘Walking through life’

Another problem is that those who move to another municipality have to apply for aids again. There are only 25 municipalities that work together on this.

Robin would prefer to continue living in Purmerend. But since finding a house is impossible, he at least hopes for a postal address in the municipality so that he can keep his scooter.

But he still doesn’t have a roof over his head. Robin’s legal advisor, Dewi Deijle, can only summarize it in one way: “Robin has ended up in a carousel of impossibilities and is now forced to wander through life with his scooter.”

Reaction municipality of Purmerend

The municipality says that if a person finds a new home, they can talk about taking their scooter with them. The municipality also writes that ‘in this market it is especially important to look very carefully at the criteria for an urgency statement’.

“After all, if too many people have such a statement, it loses its added value.” The Municipality of Purmerend cannot make statements about individual cases.

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