Meetup #20: Here, Together

We kicked off our meetup season of 2021 with Samen Hier! As per the COVID situation this was still an online version, but that didn’t affect the energy or impact. With over 30 participants we had a wonderful two hours with new ideas, inspiration and most importantly new insights!

Samen Hier shared their dream with our audience: an integration system inspired by the Canadian ‘community sponsorship model’ and the Italian ‘humanitarian corridor’. These approaches harness the power and support of citizens, who together ensure the financial and social stability for newcomers. 

Envision it as follows: one person abroad is granted a status. That person is allowed to come over to The Netherlands and start a new life. However, often there is not yet a designated place to live (other than an asylum seekers centre) or a program for integration. The community sponsorship model lifts this weight of the shoulder of both the government and the municipalities. 5 people, for example a group of friends with different types of expertise, combine their financial, professional and social resources to support one person during their integration. That way, integration is smoother and more efficient, with less bureaucracy involved.

However, The Netherlands currently does not have the ideal political climate for such a new form of integration. That is why Samen Hier is taking small steps and collecting data during their trials to prove that this form of integration can be just as or more efficient. Their first hurdle for 2021 is to ensure temporary housing (1-3 months) to enable people with a newly received status to come over to the Netherlands (and skipping a stay in AZC’s).

Therefore, Samen Hier asked our audience to think with them on the question: how to sponsor the in-between housing, whilst incorporating as much of the support of society as possible?

Each team separated into breakout rooms, where under the guidance of our team captains they cooked up various ideas. They ranged from matching groups based on passion and finding a space accordingly, building on existing communities such as CouchSurfing, combining the forces of all ‘integration groups’ into one big group of ‘heroes’, to tiny house villages and Heineken Houses. But the winning idea was that of team Red: allow the private sector to buy ‘shares’ in housing and integration, collect the data about the total costs and revenues and demonstrate the efficiency of this system through facts. Samen Hier chose this approach as the winner as it provides a very direct way for the private sector to get involved, allows for research and allows for the integration of all the other ideas. Congratulations team Red!

If you would like to get in touch with Samen Hier or have an idea you’d like to share, contact us at joukje@thepresent.world.

A big thank you to Jeske Eekelaar, Anouk Hupkes, Lotte Wildeboer for organizing this meetup and thank you Thea van Unen, Tisha Hupkes, and Marnix Geus for being wonderful team captains!

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