Pledge 29 – Utrecht
- City: Utrecht
In 2019, Utrecht signed two pledges to the European Pillar of Social Rights. On 15 February, the Deputy Mayor for Social Affairs, Maarten van Ooijen, who is also our vice-chair of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum, signed a strong commitment to principle 19 (EPSR) on housing and assistance for the homeless. Then, on 18 October 2019, Utrecht pledged on principle 16 (EPSR), reaffirming its commitment to healthcare.
Utrecht is committed to deliver a new strategy to prevent and combat homelessness as part of the city’s strategic approach for a Healthy Urban Living for Everyone.
Utrecht pledges to:
- Improve the quality of shelters and care by offering 24-hour shelters with tailor-made assistance by a multi-disciplinary team of experts.
- Provide sustainable solutions to prevent homelessness by identifying debts in time and offering quick assistance as well as providing continued guidance to former homeless people who found a place to live to prevent repeated homelessness.
- Invest in Housing First by creating sufficient social housing and cooperating with local and national partners in the City Deal for an Inclusive City.
Utrecht has drawn up a new strategy for ‘Healthy City’ consisting of wide and diverse actions across different areas of life, such as growing up healthy, healthy food, healthy living and healthy income.
This is translated into concrete actions such as:
- Providing every child from 9 months to 6 years old with the opportunity to grow up healthy and to develop optimally
- Ensuring a healthy income to the citizens with the programme Utrecht Debt Free.
- Setting up dialogue with employees to secure a healthy work for everyone.
- Building and promoting healthy urban environment for care facilities, sports, schools, parks, play areas, shops, meeting places.
Utrecht’s deputy mayor and vice-chair of our EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum, Maarten van Ooijen, said: “Our goal as a human-rights city with housing as a fundamental social right is to enable everybody have a shelter and live a normal life.”
In September 2020, Utrecht joined Amsterdam’s initiative to sign a joint pledge, together with five other European cities, to equal opportunities, reaffirming their commitment to the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). Helsinki, Gijón, Utrecht, Frankfurt, Ghent and Amsterdam joined efforts to ensure equal opportunities (principle 3 of EPSR), because they believe that, especially in these unprecedented times of the pandemic crisis, every person has the right to equal treatment. To achieve this, the cities are committed to take bold actions.
Utrecht is committed to ensuring a Debt Free City. To do so:
- The city invests €6 million to free 20.000 households of their debts.
- It is developing a Corona Crisis Pardon for debts linked to lockdown measures.