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Logo Trimbos Institute

(Trimbos Institute)

There are approximately 40,000 homeless people in the Netherlands (CBS), excluding users of 24-hour shelter. An ongoing challenge is to locate shelter at night and deal with the increased risk of transmission as a result of the mobility of this population. Health communication about measures and support also does not easily reach this group. In addition, the physical vulnerability to infection for these groups is high, which means that medical intervention with 1,5 meter physical distance is necessary. The impact of COVID-19 on this group can be extra damaging. The data collection strategy is similar to subproject 3, with the exception that the panel survey cannot be conducted for this group. The interviews will target professionals within the shelter environment in collaboration with Valente (a network organization supporting sheltering) and policy advisors at the municipal levels.

Provisional results

For the research of the impact of the corona measures for people who are homeless, in the first phase of data collection interviews were held with 5 professionals who work in social shelters, 5 social advocacy and 11 homeless people.

For homeless people, the corona crisis has brought both positive as negative consequences. Many homeless people are (temporarily) in accommodations. A part of the clients no longer have to make use of the communal dorms. Because of the crisis, people are more often able to use the 24-hour shelter whereas before they had to go back on the streets after breakfast. Homeless people experience this as very positive: it gives them more peace and privacy. It accommodates the need for a private safe space, which is the most important condition for recovery.   There are however negative consequence to this. As a result of the corona crisis, many of the supporting facilities have stopped or are only limited open. The daily structure and regularity have been fallen away for a part of the homeless people as well as the opportunities for social contacts. This leads to boredom and lack of perspective. In combination with the necessity for lesser face-to-face contact (with counsellors but also with friends and family), the already small world of a part of the clients has become even smaller.

“I think I am going backwards instead of forwards, the days are too long”

Read More:

‘Paradox: corona heeft ook positieve kanten voor daklozen’

Trimbos – 29 mei 2020


Branch organisation for participation, guidance and save shelters:

Guidelines shelter for homeless people


National organisations who provide social shelters:

Leger des Heils https://www.legerdesheils.nl/nederland-let-een-beetje-op-elkaar

Kwintes https://www.kwintes.nl/wat-doen-wij-i-v-m-het-coronavirus/

Limor https://www.limor.nl/nieuws/continuïteitsplan-limor-coronavirus

Advocacy groups



Dutch street doctors group (Nederlandse Straatdokters Groep)





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People experiencing homelessness: Their potential exposure to COVID-19