Brussels office building transformed into homeless shelter in record time

Brussels office building transformed into homeless shelter in record time
© Belga

Samusocial, an agency that provides social services for the homeless, will shelter more than 300 displaced people in an office building from 21 February onwards.

The organisation transformed an office building formerly used by the old European Commission at the Hermann-Debroux viaduct into a shelter in just four days, Bruzz reports.

The hotel where many homeless people were previously housed will resume its commercial activities.

A tight timeline for moving in

“We only received the keys to the building on Friday, and by the end of the day on Monday the first new occupants will already be arriving,” Samuel Heugens, who coordinates the rearrangement of the offices, told RTBF.

“We only had four days to furnish as much as possible. Given the limited time, we keep the furnishing simple: we provide furniture such as beds, bedside tables and mattresses so that we can convert the current offices into small rooms as quickly as possible.”

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Heugens had just 30 employees to complete the task, and more technical work remains to be done: “We have to provide electricity and water pipes for the installation of the washing machines and also break down walls in some places.”

Over 300 homeless people to be sheltered

The timing was tight, but Samusocial had no other choice because the hotel hosting the temporary shelter needed to reopen.

“We had to redecorate this office building very quickly because we had to leave the hotel we had been renting for two years,” explained Sébastien Roy of Samusocial to RTBF. “For administrative reasons, we only got the keys on Friday. So it will be a real race against time.”

313 homeless people, including children, will move into the building in Auderghem over the course of this week. Half of the people are expected to move in on Monday.

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