The Centre for Social Innovation, HU University of Applied Sciences, has been one of the founders of the Community of Practice on Mixed Housing (Ontwikkelwerkplaats Gemengd Wonen).
Mixed Housing projects are home to people from different backgrounds who intentionally live next to each other, connect and engage in joint activities. In all cases they provide housing for (relatively) vulnerable groups of citizens who form a community together with other, ‘ regular’, tenants or homeowners. These more vulnerable groups in need of some form of support include ex-homeless persons, people with mental or (mild) intellectual disabilities or refugees who are trying to make a new start in the Netherlands. In terms of the number of residents, the size of the projects varies from 15 up to 500 people.
The goal of the Community of Practice is to draw lessons from mixed housing projects in the Netherlands. In the Community, residents of these projects, social professionals, project leaders and stakeholders build and exchange knowledge. They do so in order to improve existing projects, create new projects and to develop better policies for housing and inclusion of vulnerable citizens. One of the activities within the framework of this Community of Practice was a research project focussing on five projects in Utrecht.
The Community of Practice was developed in partnership with social housing corporation Portaal, social service providers Tussenvoorziening (working with homeless people, running and supporting services for socially excluded people), Lister (focussing on rehabilitation and recovery of people with severe psychiatric or addiction problems), Abrona (care for people with intellectual disabilities) and working-living community Emmaus.
In 2018, the HU-Centre for Social Innovation, was one of the organisers of the first national conference on Mixed Housing.
More information on this project (in Dutch).