“Poverty is everywhere and closer than you think. The rising prices of energy and groceries have made poverty an urgent problem. The need is high. More and more people just don’t come by.” It is an observation for many and unfortunately an experience for a growing group. Time to reflect on what is going well and what could be improved, GB90 believes.
It is about economic poverty. Which often leads to stress, emotional poverty, exclusion, loneliness, poorer school performance, physical and psychological problems. An understanding that leads to shame. There is a taboo on it. No one brags about her or his financial problems. This means that many worrying situations remain unknown. The label of ‘living in poverty’ has been a heavy burden for many for centuries. Shouldn’t we be talking about: asking for and receiving financial aid?
It turns out that many people wait to ask for help. On average, people turn to debt advice after five years with increasing debt of 48,000 euros. It also appears that a large group has problems with reading and writing. It is especially difficult if the written information is not in the ‘Jip and Janneke language’.
‘You are no longer alive’
As the last van delivers bread, milk, vegetables, meat and other groceries to Dreamteam’s alternative food bank this Friday afternoon, the first women arrive on their bikes with their empty shopping bags. 99% of them are women. The threshold is too high for most men. Stacey Bosman, promoter of the food supply, and Karin Scholten (GB90) will talk to the visitors. Most have ended up in a benefit situation as a result of illness (WAO), bankruptcy (Schuldhulpverlening) or divorce (Assistance). “The energy crisis and inflation make it even more difficult to live.”
“I just had my teeth pulled. A high dental bill is not reimbursed.” “I’m not going to the oral surgeon. I can’t bear my own risk.” “The washing machine is broken. How is it possible that I can be reimbursed for sports or an excursion and not reimbursed for a basic necessity such as a washing machine?” It’s October 21. One family still hasn’t turned on the heat. And no more showers. “Several years ago I brought shopping bags to this point myself. Now I’m on the other side.” Particularly striking is that the inhabitants of Borne often don’t know their way around. What arrangements are there? Who do I have to be with? Can’t the procedure be carried out faster? “I want to live too!”
On Wednesday evening, October 19, the floor was given to a diverse group. Volunteers and professionals who themselves or in their (voluntary) work have to deal with poverty. Representatives from education, sports, the church, the neighborhood council, the Social Advisory Council, Wijkracht, political advisers in the municipality, political parties, birthday box Borne and a general practitioner. Problems related to poor communication, lengthy administrative and bureaucratic processes, unfamiliarity and a jumble of facilities, lack of a clear point of contact and high figurative thresholds were recognized and agreed upon by all.
But it’s not all black. There is a freely accessible Social House where different carers work together. Unfortunately, this facility in the town hall is still too unknown. Wijkracht, support for all kinds of social issues, is deliberately located in the Culture House. For all available. You must be aware of its existence. The ‘fruit in school’ project can be applied for by all schools. Kringloop Borne donates annual income to local charities. The Social Fund gives children the opportunity to play sports. Birthday box Borne ensures that all children can celebrate their birthday. The Alternative Food Bank Borne currently supports 54 families.
What could be better?
Everyone is convinced that improvements are needed. Above all, it must be clear to everyone where he or she can go. A point of contact where you can tell your story. This person, who listens to your story in confidence, has so much knowledge that he or she knows exactly who can help you further. The word social worker dropped. Or a Kees and Marijke. A recognizable and welcoming person. The condition is that a complete social map, a network map and a list of facilities are set up as soon as possible. Available to all residents and professionals in Borne.
In education, child care, soccer club, etc., problems with a participant can be identified. It could indicate financial problems. They also need to know where to turn.
It is desirable to look more at the human dimension when providing financial support. Sometimes the boundaries of laws are sharp. But with mutual trust, understanding and interpretation, you get a little further. This also means that the processing time for the request for help is shortened. As well as simplifying the administrative process and the associated written information. Simplify and perhaps convey information using a video.
The professionals also put their hands in their own bosoms. Everyone agrees that they need to know more about and about each other’s work. In short, improved collaboration.
The knowledge gathered this week from the community appears in a note. This will be presented in the short term to the city council and the municipal board. (YD)