Figures show fewer homeless but organizations warn of hidden problem

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Fewer people were recorded as homeless in the Netherlands last year, with a sharp drop in the under-27 age group, according to the latest figures.

Statistics agency CBS said 32,000 people were officially classified as homeless on January 1, down from 4,000 in the previous 12 months and down from 39,300 at the start of 2018.

The figures do not include homeless people over 65, undocumented immigrants and homeless people, who are recorded as living with friends or family but move between multiple addresses.

Valente, the organization of hostel accommodation providers, said the sector was under pressure due to the large number of “invisible homeless people” in the Netherlands.

“The accommodation is oversubscribed,” a spokesperson told NOS. “Without exception, accommodation providers report a constant flow of people at the door because they don’t have a roof over their heads.”

The figures also show that migrants of “non-Western” origin now represent 50% of the total, up from 36% in 2009, when there were a total of 17,800 homeless.

The proportion of Dutch-born living on the streets has increased from 54% to 40% over the same period, while around 10% are classified as “western” migrants.

Men make up 84% of all homeless people, while a third live in one of the four big cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

Young people aged 18 to 27 represented 23% of the total, up from 35% in 2016, while the proportion of those over 50 rose from 16% to 20%.

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