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6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

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16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

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13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

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10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

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9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

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8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

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7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

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1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Housing former prisoners example for other cities

23 November 2007 - A new programme intends to make it easier for prisoners to sublet their houses, so as to have a house available when they leave prison. The programme was inspired by a little-known regulation in Amsterdam.

After a few months, many prisoners can no longer pay their rent, which may lead to their eviction. When they leave jail, they are indebted and have no place to stay. “They are forced to board with friends and eat the bread of charity. Almost inevitably, they relapse into criminal behaviour”, said Nico Epskamp of Bonjo, a platform of organisations for detainees, former detainees and their families.

In Amsterdam, the municipality has a regulation that allows prisoners to sublet their houses for at most one year. In other cities, housing corporations all have their own policies.

Inspired by Amsterdam’s regulation, Bonjo has started a programme that intends to create a uniform regulation to be adopted nationally. A second objective is to make the regulation known among prisoners and social workers. In addition, the organisation will launch a website to bring people who seek temporary housing into contact with prisoners who want to sublet their houses.

Finding candidates for the houses will not be a problem: Bonjo has already received requests from people who are interested.

It has been estimated that 4,000 former prisoners return to Amsterdam every year. Earlier this month, Peggy Burke (PvdA) proposed two motions asking the municipality to improve support for ex-prisoners.

Bonjo (in Dutch), Burke. Illustration: Bijlmerbajes prison (photo S. Sepp / Wikipedia)


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