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The Future of Housing

Can we change the law that made temporary renting contracts the norm in the private housing sector?

Being a homeless student, 30-year-old and living with your parents out of necessity, or being kicked out of your house and forced to move to another place. It’s the reality due the scarcity on the housing market in the Netherlands. Together with the Woonbond Margot, Frédérique and Justin raise the issue with the Dutch minister of public housing, to fight this unfair system!

The Value Creators semester started off with forming groups around topics of interest. We formed a team as we shared a common interest in SDG 10 and SDG 11. We converged our focus to ‘the future of housing’, as the housing crisis in the Netherlands is a great actuality of today and a source of inequality that we as change agents wish to address.

The future of housing has lots of opportunities to explore due to its complexity. The team decided to make an impact in the root cause of a problem, to ensure a change in the system. With system mapping and desk- and field research we concluded that all related issues lead back to governmental impacts. The government has a massive impact on influencing the system with policies and laws that were implemented, scratched or adapted in the past few years, such as the jubelton, verhuurdersheffing and Wet Doorstroming Huurmarkt 2015 – the latter made temporary renting contracts the norm for private renting, resulting in many people living with never-ending uncertainty about their future housing situation. Especially many young people, the community that this country relies on for its future, became the victim of an unequal system where wealthy landlords are in control and renters are barely protected and financially exploited, often resulting in (mental) instability and a serious increase in homelessness amongst this community. This must change.

The team was in need of a collaborator with a higher influence to reach a broader audience, and to maximize value creation. Through networking we came in contact with the organization Woonbond, a major player in the theme of housing and representing 1,6 million renting households in the Netherlands, we established a collaboration. The team discussed possible strategies with Jeske Jongerius, our contact person from the Woonbond. Quite soon it became obvious that writing an urgent letter to the Dutch House of Representatives (brandbrief) would be within our power and for sure reach the target. However, the team tried to look beyond the obvious product and thought of other innovative, new and creative methods to get our message across.

The team brainstormed about which product would be most fitting, and decided to develop two products that strengthen each other. Our first product remains the brandbrief (letter written to the Dutch House of Representatives): A business letter with an urgent call to action, in our case on the specific topic of temporary renting contracts. Our second product became the Wooncrisis Kwartetspel, a protest quartet game: the game is a visualization of the bigger picture of the housing crisis, and how it affects young adults in this country. The goal is to raise awareness and draw attention in a playful manner. In the 13 categories of the game, you can find a combination of personal stories, facts and knowledge on rules and regulations. See some of the examples at the end of this text.

A new phase in our Value Creation process began: What and whom do we need to create this Wooncrisis Kwartetspel? We collaborated with the community, Woonbond and connections of Woonbond, a professional designer, and Cibap vocational college for design to establish this protest quartet game. On the day of action (aanbiedingsmoment) that will take place in February 2023, the team will hand over both products to the Dutch House of Representatives in The Hague, supported by the Woonbond and the community. We dream of the chance to play the game with Hugo de Jonge and Mark Rutte. We are looking forward to this moment. The action is a success if awareness has increased and if the products reach the Dutch House of Representatives. The ultimate goal, of course, is to urge authorities to screw temporary housing contracts (either due to the value of products or external factors, or a combination of both). This would mean that young renters, over time, would not suffer from the externalities of temporary renting contracts anymore. In that way we are one step closer to solving the housing crisis!

For more information and/or questions, please reach out to us:

Margot Rijsman: Frédérique Hoogland: Justin Smit:

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