Asylum seekers at future National Crisis Centre to be rehoused

Asylum seekers at future National Crisis Centre to be rehoused
Credit: Belga / Hatim Kaghat

Asylum seekers currently occupying the future HQ of Belgium's National Crisis Centre will soon be rehoused, Brussels' Minister-President Rudi Vervoort confirmed on Tuesday. Federal, regional and local authorities came to an agreement after a police intervention at the occupied building on Sunday.

Despite the Federal Government wanting to avoid "more distressing situations" with their recent migration deal, this weekend saw asylum seekers face further evictions. On Saturday, 60 occupants of a building near the Tour & Taxis site were cleared from the premises and left to sleep on the streets.

In response to the eviction, asylum seekers and activists occupied a building in the municipality of Saint-Josse, which is set to become the new offices of the National Crisis Centre. Police then laid siege to the building on Sunday but did not enter to remove any occupants.

The incident led to further government discussions, with Brussels' regional government deliberating with the authorities of Saint-Josse. A spokesperson for the municipality explained that phone calls "from all angles" had brought a "global solution" for all.

Tweet translation: "I have proposed a housing solution for the asylum seekers currently occupying the building on Avenue Albert II. While waiting for them to be processed by Fedasil, we have proposed to take care of them. Although this is not the competence of the Brussels-Capital Region, this provides a concrete solution."

Vervoort revealed on Tuesday afternoon that 17 occupants will be cared for at the Samusocial reception centre. Another 34 residents will be housed by refugee committees in Belgium and 14 more will be given shelter in buildings temporarily used by the Brussels Government.

The 27 asylum seekers that were not evacuated from their tents alongside the city's canal will receive care from Fedasil.

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Critics argue that this "solution" is yet another example of the Federal Government shying away from its responsibilities, with regional and municipal authorities having to pick up the slack. A spokesperson for Saint-Josse municipality denied this but acknowledged that it might be some time before the federal reception agency can take over.

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