City Talks #2 • Dak- en thuislozen
In CityTalks politicians, experts and citizens with different backgrounds, specializations or opinions discuss various topics. The Red Thread? Brussels.
In this episode of CityTalks we talk about homelessness in Brussels. The last count of homeless people in the Brussels region – unfortunately – resulted in a new record figure. 5,313 people have to survive on the streets. This includes children and women. Their share is rising.
The seriousness of the homeless issue became all the more clear during the corona pandemic. 'Stay home' was the message. It couldn't be clearer. But what if you don't have a home? What if your home is unsafe? Due to corona, the shelters had to drastically reduce their number of beds, because they could not work safely. But putting people on the street was not an option either. Because it is inhumane and that is how the virus continued to circulate.
Over time, there was room for experimentation: special facilities for sick homeless people, traditional night shelters that remained open during the day, and the use of empty hotel rooms to shelter the homeless. Hotels that no longer had tourists were temporarily taken over by non-profit organizations.
950 beds in 12 hotels, youth hostels and collective infrastructures. Today, 6 of those 12 hotels are still open to accommodate 190 homeless people. But in April 2022 they have to close their doors. What then? We talk to Jérôme, coordinator of the homeless shelter at Doucheflux, and student Nawal, who received shelter and guidance there for 6 months.
Els Rochette, Member of Parliament for one.brussels in Brussels, talks about her work as a volunteer at Doucheflux and her political commitment to policy solutions. As far as she is concerned, reception in hotels is also part of this. Especially because today, November 2021, 10,000 hotel rooms are empty.