Migrants crisis – Tens of beds made available and citizens’ initiatives in Namur region
Friday, 11 September 2015
UNamur (Namur University) is offering 5 flats with 2 to 6 beds each, and 5 more could be made available later, revealed Chancellor Yves Poullet at a press conference on Friday morning. At the same time, the Frenes ILA (Local Reception Initiative) in Lustin (near Profondeville) is reopening its doors at the request of Fedasil, following its closure by a federal edict on June 30th, and will shortly welcome 18 asylum seekers.
University housing is usually meant for guest professors and researchers. Out of 105 existing apartments, 95 are currently booked. Within a fortnight other vacancies may appear, pointed out UNamur which is working with CPAS (Public Social Assistance Centre) in Namur, and with the Red Cross.
Initial arrivals are scheduled for Monday, September 21st. Some 18 beds are booked for isolated individuals, families, couples and siblings. A public appeal was made to spruce up the facilities and donations were collected on Saturday.
The ILA opened its doors in 2004 and welcomed newcomers to the country. “When we had to close down, residents had to be relocated. We felt disappointed and angry. We had to make 3 people redundant. The building was for sale, although it still has not sold. A social worker and a teacher were re-hired,” explains Sophie Dardenne, President of the Profondeville CPAS.
In Namur, the former fire station offered itself for use as storage for materials and donations before they are sorted out and distributed, reveals CPAS President Philippe Defeyt in a press release. A collection of donations is taking place in Beez on Saturday, and another one in Rue Jean-Baptiste Brabant next Thursday. A call centre and a single email address will help coordinate all offers of help and useful information.