Brussels Mayor Philippe Close on Tuesday called on Socialists to focus more attention on housing – currently the remit of the Christian Democratic and Humanist (chH) party, editor’s note – for the next few years. “We absolutely must dare to be more aggressive in building and renovating social housing,” he said in a Labour Day address to Socialist Party (PS) militants in Saint-Gilles. “We are too slow in building. We must innovate.”
Alderwoman Els Ampe, representing the liberal wing of the municipal council, recently called for a halt to the building of social housing in the city of Brussels.
Close, the future head of the Socialist list for the City of Brussels, said the housing sector, and particularly social housing, “seems neglected since we are no longer directly responsible for it” in the Region. However, the cost of housing is the main factor of impoverishment. It accentuates social differentiation and isolation, he stressed.
“We’ll always have conservatives telling us it’s not necessary to put up social housing in such and such a neighbourhood,” he stressed. “That has to be our fight for the coming years.”
Close said the offensive to eliminate the rules for a decent social life was in full swing, “but in the era of cities, the urban space is also a space of resistance, shaped by public services as a space of citizenship and emancipation for fragile populations.”
For the Brussels mayor, the socialist project aims to build an inclusive city and a decent society in opposition to a so-called natural law reportedly based on the law of the strongest.
Close also called on socialist militants to continue fighting for “the invisible people who do not express themselves, who even apologize for being there and whom the right-wing alliance would like to forget.