Welcome to our new website www.amstelveense-minima.nl! A website that helps Amstelveners with a low income (approximately six thousand inhabitants) on their way with news and practical information. The maze of laws, regulations and allowances is becoming increasingly complex. Think of the rent and healthcare allowance, the (special) social assistance, the energy allowance and the Participation Act.
We also explain when you can appeal to the Food Bank and Clothing Bank, for example, and apply for a remission of municipal taxes. Recent research shows that sixty to seventy percent of Amstelveen residents who are entitled to this do not make use of these schemes. This is mainly due to the unclear, difficult to find information and the complicated application procedures.
www.amstelveense-minima.nl is an initiative of Wil Roode and Bart Stam. Wil is very familiar with the daily problems of minima. The former police detective is a board member and intaker of the Food Bank Amstelveen and an FNV executive in the Greater Amsterdam department of the National Working Group on Benefit Claimants. As a member of the Minima Client Council and the Social Domain Participation Council, a citizen councilor in Amstelveen and an employee of the SP Emergency Service, she has always worked for people who are experiencing financial difficulties.
A union for people on benefits is not an obvious choice. Many people on benefits have no money at all to take out expensive legal expenses insurance. If the government is 'your employer' and it also has the task of monitoring whether you comply with the rules of the law, something has gone wrong in the social security system. As a former youth and vice detective, I have been to many people's homes and have seen a lot of misery and poverty. What is not correct in the Netherlands is that suspects of criminal offenses have more rights than people on social assistance benefits. That is why, after I stopped working, I started working for people who have no voice or are afraid of the government. And I work as a volunteer for the trade union FNV Benefit recipients. People who need help can get this from the union and it is also important that people know what their rights are.
Bart Stam (62) was born in Oss. He learned a lot about poverty and injustice in the world, especially from his father, who worked for the Organon pharmaceutical company for over thirty years. As a PvdA municipal councilor, his father devoted himself to the decent housing and social integration of Turkish factory workers and their families. After his retirement, his father guided refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia through the complex Dutch society.
After high school Bart joined the Arnhemsche Courant at the end of 1979. In 1981 he went to the Academy of Journalism in Tilburg, where he graduated in 1984. From 1985 to 2005, with a short break as a freelance journalist, he worked as an editor at Technische Weekblad. In 2005 he became editor-in-chief of Maritime Netherlands. A position that Bart exchanged in 2008 for editor-in-chief of 'Zeehavens Amsterdam' and the international edition 'Amsterdam Seaports'. In 2014 he became a freelance journalist and copywriter. Due to declining assignments, Bart was forced to stop as a freelancer at the end of 2020. Since then he has had a modest pre-pension. He is a volunteer for the SP Amstelveen and the Max Euwe Center in Amsterdam.
Inspired by Wil Roode, who has been unconditionally committed to this target group for years, Bart has become more involved with minima in Amstelveen. As an employee of this website, he wants to help Amstelveners who have to live on a minimum income, do not have an extensive network and are struggling with the increasingly complex (digital) government information.
Bart is married, has a son (29) and a stepson (45). His main hobby is chess. He also likes theatre, swimming, films, books, languages and football. Although his entire family is from Amsterdam, he is a fervent Feyenoord supporter