Government misspent billions to the detriment of the homeless, says Belgian prince
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    Government misspent billions to the detriment of the homeless, says Belgian prince

    “We could have done much more for the homeless had the billions of euros that the Government had at its disposal, been better spent,” Prince Laurent told Belga on Tuesday.

    The prince visited the news agency during a visit to the area with the Herscham team of the Brussels-Capital/Ixelles police, which is dedicated to helping homeless persons.

    Established in 2003, the Herscham Team was integrated into the Brussels-Capital/Ixelles police zone of the police in 2010. It comprises of four inspectors.

    Some 1,000 persons are reported to be living in the streets of Brussels City, according to Herscham Team head, Commissioner Christian Raes. The number for all 19 Brussels communes is about 4,500.

    “I cannot understand how so many buildings remain vacant while thousands of people sleep in the street in our prosperous capital,” Prince Laurent said. “It defies the imagination. When you know that billions of euros have been badly spent, it’s really a pity that people do not have roofs above their heads.”

    The paths of the Herscham Team and the Prince’s foundation, which works for the well-being of animals, have crossed before, since homeless people often have dogs. These canines “mean a lot for the homeless; it’s often their only companion, their only source of warmth and affection,” the King’s brother said. “I regret that some of them are sometimes turned away by institutions because they have an animal.”

    “I wish to help persons in difficulty,” stressed the Prince, who accused “the politicians” of taking his job away from him.

    Relations between the youngest son of Albert II and the last federal government deteriorated after the Prince went to a reception for the 90th anniversary of China’s army, held at the Chinese Embassy in Brussels, without authorisation from the Government and in military uniform. His allowance was reduced by 15%.

    More recently, there was again disagreement over a request from the Prince to the Libyan State for compensation amounting to 50 million euros.

    Oscar Schneider

    The Brussels Times