The municipality of Amsterdam is launching a new project with the aim of helping young people with their debts. In the project, called 'Young people debt-free start', the municipality will take over participating young people's debt. They will have to pay back the debts according to their means, with some amounts being scrapped if they make an effort to find work or start studying.
According to figures from Amsterdam's stats office OIS, 34 percent of Amsterdam resident between the ages of 18 and 34 have debts. The amounts vary from one month's arrears on their cellphone bill to tens of thousands of euros.
"Debts cause a lot of stress. And in the case of young people, debts often determine their future," alderman Marjolein Moorman said. "The majority of these young people started out with a disadvantage and, due to bad luck or ignorance, found themselves in a situation that they can not get out of without help. That is why we are now going to help them so that they can make a new start."
The young people who participate in this project will be appointed a coach, with whom they will prepare a plan for the future, including setting goals. If they meet these goals, such as finding a job or starting a course, the municipality will write off part of their debts.
The municipal credit bank will negotiate with the young people's creditors and buy over their debts. The credit bank will then issue the young people a loan with the residual debt amount, which they will have to repay according to their means.
Amsterdam believes that every young person deserves a chance for a good future, the municipality said in a press release. "Debts should not stand in the way of work and education. Unfortunately, that is often the case now." The aim of this project is to help more young people pay off their debt "and at the same time, offer them the opportunity to build their future."