The organizers of the demonstration of 17 October 2021 are currently preparing a meeting with the Rotterdam triangle (the mayor, the chief of police and the public prosecutor) to discuss the objectionable, excessive and violent police actions prior to and during the demonstration. We are pleased that ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen has agreed to act as an independent moderator.
Exactly one year ago, a coalition of more than 15 solidarity (residential) action groups organized the Woonopstand in Rotterdam. For the first time in nearly 40 years, a wave of housing protests swept across the country and the housing crisis came back on the political and social agenda. Under the motto 'Houses for people, not for profit', thousands of demonstrators came to the Afikaander Park in Rotterdam and marched across the Erasmus Bridge to the center. There was a strong message of mutual solidarity among the very diverse group that stood up for their right of residence on 17 October, which makes a large national housing movement in the Netherlands very much alive again. Even after all the police repression, we have shown that we do not allow ourselves to be divided and that solidarity is stronger than state repression.
As a result of unprecedented inflation, rising energy and rental prices, and significantly more expensive groceries, a huge number of people are facing a tough winter. Sky-high utility bills threaten to push them into financial difficulties or debt. The affordability problems that many people have been experiencing for a long time are exacerbated by a decline in purchasing power such as we have not experienced in decades. This can no longer be the case. The water is not up to people's lips, but hundreds of thousands are now in danger of drowning. Decisive action must be taken now to prevent poverty and further damage to livelihoods. This does not require plastering afterwards, but a structural policy change to prevent damage beforehand and in the future.
The National Performance Agreements on the social rental sector that are currently being drawn up are based on a further marginalization of the social rental sector. The agreements are not only insufficient to strengthen public housing, but even lead to further flexibilisation of rent and a worsening of the position of tenants. These agreements between the government, Aedes, VNG, IPO and the Woonbond will be finalized on 30 June. This should not happen!
On Sunday, June 19, 2022, tens of thousands of people will take to the streets to demand fair climate policies — exactly 30 years after the first climate conference. While politicians keep talking, we spring into action. Make sure you're there and join the Woonopstandblok! For a radically equal housing and climate policy!
Every year, 11,000 homes are demolished, even though the housing shortage is so high. Many are on waiting lists for social housing for years, and also in the owner-occupied sector it often ends in a bidding war where most people lose, and 1 person 'wins' by putting down too much money. And during this struggle, houses are being demolished in front of us, to make way for more expensive new construction that is unaffordable for the average citizen. Sign and share the petition of De Goede Zaak now!
Rents have increased by more than 35% over the past 10 years. More than 800,000 tenants have too little left for the necessary costs and living expenses after paying the rent. Action group 'We Refuse the Rent Increase' is therefore fighting for a multi-year rent freeze (2022-2026) to make housing affordable again for everyone, and to keep it that way.
On 2 March, Mayor Aboutaleb sent the Rotterdam City Council a letter about the evaluation of the excessive and violent police action during the Residential Revolt demonstration on 17 October 2021. Unfortunately, we note that the evaluation by the triangle is seriously inadequate and cannot be seen as a proper accountability for police action. We see no basis for the restoration of trust that is necessary for a further discussion and inform the city council that we will not accept the triangle's invitation for a dialogue.
On behalf of many tenants and home seekers who are stuck, the housing action groups urgently appeal to Minister De Jonge (Public Housing and Spatial Planning) not to allow a rent increase on 1 July 2022, and instead to freeze and lower rents and take measures. to regulate all rents, including in the free sector.