“Finding your own home seems impossible”

“I now live with my three small children in a log cabin, in the middle of the meadows near Zoetermeer. We are leaving in April. For a year and a half I haven’t had a place I can call ‘home’ that I know I’m allowed to stay. We moved five times in the first four months after my divorce. I am now temporarily here, but I do not live here: I stay here. A subtle but significant difference. I find no real peace here. But finding your own place seems impossible.

No permanent residence after divorce

After it became clear that we were going to divorce, my ex and I lived together for almost a year during the complicated corona period. This forced cohabitation is also a consequence of the housing crisis. Otherwise, after the decision to divorce, you don’t have to keep each other’s lips. It gave a lot of tension, no matter how much I tried to avoid it. This is also unhealthy for children. Eventually I broke down physically, I got all kinds of complaints and I had no choice but to leave. During the mediation, I thought I would be rushed because I mostly take care of the children. The mediator did not contradict this and even indicated that we would quickly deal with urgent matters once the divorce was finalized.

It turned out to be a myth. I am not in a hurry, because according to the municipality, the children can also live with their father. Despite the legal document where we agreed that I will take care of the children and that they will therefore stay with me for the most part.

Rejected for rental

Because I do not have a fixed address, I cannot apply for a child-related budget, although the maintenance allowance is calculated accordingly. I can’t move in with friends who live alone, because then you become tax partners. It’s harder for me to live with a couple with my kids, and I’m also not allowed to register there if I don’t physically live there, it’s illegal. And the municipality has not yet given me a postal address for that.

In the beginning, I reacted almost obsessively to social housing. But time and time again I was rejected. I can’t compete with people who have been registered longer or against those who get rush. And I earn too little to buy a house, even if I can pay the mortgage costs. I dare not expect anything from the government and all safety nets; without a home i fall in between everywhere. I would be able to pay for a house in the private sector with the child related budget supplement, but I am not eligible due to the income requirements that housing associations and others place on the housing markets. I have my friends who want to post bail, but that too is ignored. I therefore hope to grow in my job and my salary so that I can rent something in the private sector. I now have a better job. Because I take care of the kids, it’s part-time. My employer allows me to grow with this job. So for the last year and a half I have been studying alongside my work, the children and all the tension to seize that opportunity.

Survival mode

Time is running out, because in April I will be on the street, and I will also lose my workplace. I work from home and have online meetings every day. Without a place to live, I don’t know where I can work, while this seems to be my only chance. Meanwhile, I’m in survival mode. I care, work, study, with no time for real relaxation. My social contacts have also come to a standstill and valuable friendships have been diluted. From a simple “how are you” app I close. What on earth am I supposed to answer to that?

All my contacts are now either focused on work or getting a house. Luckily I fall asleep reasonably well at night, I’m tired enough, but almost every night I wake up with muscle cramps and it’s hard for me to stay asleep. Everyone has the basic need for a place for themselves. That lack crushes my self-esteem. Why can’t I be there? Can’t I give my children a home? A small house is enough. If I can really be there, it gives me immense peace and I can breathe again. I keep getting caught up in the little things. The children enjoy playing outside here. Last night the sunset was magically beautiful, but I am reaching the end of my clothes. I often hear ‘it will be fine’. I think so too, but it is high time that ‘it is good’.”

Leave a Comment