Startblok is a housing project for young refugees who have recently received their residence permit (status-holders) and for young persons from the Netherlands. In cooperation with Socius Wonen and the Municipality of Amsterdam, housing organisation De Key is developing Startblok at Riekerhaven, a former sports-grounds next to the A10 highway in Amsterdam New West.
Startblok offers 565 housing units to 282 young status-holders and 283 working youngsters or students from the Netherlands. The studios are about 23m2 and have their own facilities such as a small kitchen, bathroom and toilet. Each floor also has a communal living space for social activities and there are two large green areas. The prices are well below the average rent in Amsterdam ranging from 350 to 430 Euros per month.
Out of the 565 participants, less than 5 % did not succeed the integration.
Soon, the second Startblok will be established based on the existing model in Amsterdam.
Selection procedure-youth contracts
The interest has been really big from the beginning. The applications are made electronically filling in an online form and then a selection committee makes the decision taking into consideration the age, the level of motivation as well as the educational and cultural background.
Self-management -residents’ choice and responsibility
Tenants get the opportunity to help managing their own living environment building a system of self-management. Tenants organize everything that can be organized by themselves. Self-management is split into two branches: social management and general management. Social management focuses on forming a community and social cohesion, covering everything necessary to create and maintain a comfortable, clean, safe and liveable environment. General management is responsible for all other daily affairs.
Language course & working experience
All status holders are attending language courses and have taken up either an internship or some kind of working/learning experience.
There are still challenges to address despite the great progress most tenants have made while culture differences are hard to bridge in so little time. Mental health Specialists are invited to tackle this.