The government supports a range of programmes aimed at boosting liveability in local neighbourhoods, such as the national Rotterdam South programme.
Integrated approach to problem families
Problem families are characterised by a number of issues, such as debt, unemployment and poor parenting. They often get too little help, or ineffective help, because the social services are working at cross-purposes or are unaware of each other's efforts. Sometimes, problem families do not know where to get the help they need. Under the integrated approach, each family has a single integrated plan and a designated frontline worker from social services, who maintains contact with the other specialist professionals involved in the case.
Staff engaged in helping these families also try to find ways in which their clients and those close to them can solve the problems themselves.
Home visiting by social teams
Many neighbourhoods have special 'social teams' who visit problem families in their homes, or operate from a low-threshold centre in the neighbourhood at an easy-to-find location.
The home-visiting approach is new in the Netherlands. It started off as a central government experiment in 6 different towns, where it worked well. It promotes cohesion between the social services and makes neighbourhoods safer by reducing the nuisance caused by problem families.
National Rotterdam South Programme
Rotterdam South is one of the country's most run-down areas, with neighbourhoods where the problems are complex and persistent. Central government, the municipal authorities and housing corporations are jointly tackling local disadvantage through the National Rotterdam South Programme. The approach is geared to providing more jobs and better schools and training facilities. The involvement of individual residents is an extremely important part of the programme. They can help to build a better future for themselves by following a course or doing something that actively improves their neighbourhood, for instance helping out in the community centre.