Two weeks ago, Brussels Minister Alain Maron promised 200 extra shelter places for homeless people in the side wing of the Porte d’Ulysse shelter in Haren.
However, as the building does not comply with safety regulations, 150 of those 200 places are at risk. They were supposed to be freed in the Blue Star building in Haren next to the Porte d’Ulysse centre, as the other centres like Samusocial, Porte d’Ulysse and the Red Cross are all full.
At the moment, the building shelters 350 migrants, and is managed by citydev, of the Brussels Region. To increase the capacity of the building, the side wing will have to be adapted to meet the building standards. However, the fire department determined that the investment would be too big for Porte d’Ulysse.
“The works that had to be carried out are important and have been postponed for too long,” said Mehdi Kassou of the citizen platform in support of refugees, reports RTBF. “On top of that, there are technical problems with the plumbing and the boiler. The departure from Porte d’Ulysse, which is scheduled for 31 March, with all the work still to be done and the contracts to be drawn up… that’s simply impossible,” he added.
Additional places are an urgent necessity, according to the sector. “Every morning, we receive between 90 and 150 people who have been sleeping outside since December at Brussels North station,” Kassou said. “What really worries us is that the winter has been mild. If tomorrow or the day after that, we are faced with much lower temperatures, we will really be out of our depth – we are not at all prepared for it,” he added.
However, there is no other solution in sight. The option to extend Porte d’Ulysse on its own site was ‘comfortable’, as there was infrastructure like a kitchen. The Minister had no reason to believe the building was not suitable, he said, and promised to do everything possible to avoid further delays, reports Bruzz.
Currently, the priority has shifted to finalising an agreement with the BeTV building in Schaerbeek, so that Porte d’Ulysse can move there at the end of March, where it will have 450 places.
The Brussels Times