As the war in Ukraine continues, so too does the influx of Ukrainian refugees to Belgium. Currently, a thousand Ukrainians are expected to seek shelter in Brussels every month, half as many as originally expected.
Based on the current intake of 1,000 refugees per month, the Brussels Capital Region expects that by the end of the year, one out of every 100 residents in Brussels will be Ukrainian, according to reports from De Standaard based on calculations by the Brussels Capital Region.
As of June, the Brussels region is accomodating 7,000 people, or 15% of reception capacity in Belgium, which is 5% more than anticipated.
"Brussels is facing an enormous challenge to integrate these people," said Rudi Vervoort, President-Minister of the Brussels Region, at a press conference. It is feared that by the end of summer, the number of places available will no longer be sufficient.
Brussels is counting on a mix of collective and individual reception venues moving forward.
Ten office buildings will be transformed into 1,500 collective places. A space there will cost €150 per adult, €50 for minors. Further to this, another 1,500 placed will be created in repurposed buildings, including in hospitals, hotels and boarding schools. Here, a place will cost €225 per month, €75 for minors.
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It isn't clear whether the region will create "emergency villages" to house refugees, where only about 500 people would be housed in temporary accommodation.
Different from Flanders
With the emphasis on collective reception venues for refugees, the Brussels region differs from Flanders, which relies more on private individuals to host them.
According to Pierre Verbeeren, Ukraine coordinator for the Brussels government, the varying strategies from the different regions will put pressure on the system, saying: "At a certain point, it will be necessary to sit around the table."
He has called on the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Sammy Mahdi, to provide more support.
For now, the federal government is making 1,500 places available in crisis shelters, but if the estimates of the Brussels Region hold true, that won't be enough in the coming months.