On 30 June, the Belgian Red Cross opened the doors to a new reception centre for asylum seekers, according to a recent press release. The centre was previously used to house people affected by the floods between the summer of 2021 and March 2022.
More than 8,000 people are currently seeking accommodation with the Belgian Red Cross in the 26 Wallonia and Brussels centres. Officials are hoping the new centre in Verviers will relieve the pressure on the other centres.
The Verviers centre will be able to house 140 people — those who come alone, those with families and those who are unaccompanied foreign minors. They can stay at the centre during the processing of their asylum applications.
"The infrastructure of the building promotes the empowerment of the residents, in particular thanks to the presence of a kitchen in each room," the press release states.
The centre will also reportedly create 20 new local jobs in the city of Verviers. The Red Cross will collaborate with local suppliers in the region and have an open dialogue with the municipal authorities.
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The Belgian Red Cross' goal is to create 1,000 new places for asylum seekers by the end of 2022. With the centre in Verviers, the organisation has created 823 places. Another centre in Genappe is being planned to open in the autumn, which will reportedly house 244 individuals.
"Once again, the Red Cross demonstrates its ability to respond to emergencies and its flexibility to welcome all of the most vulnerable people in the most dignified way possible, according to the legal frameworks imposed, thanks in particular to trained multidisciplinary teams," the press release concluded.