Number of families receiving rent allowances finally on the rise

Number of families receiving rent allowances finally on the rise
16 new social housing units in Matonge. Credit: Marc Detiffe

The number of families that received a rent allowance is steadily rising, after it appeared last year that 10,000 families who are entitled to the allowance have not received it for years. Currently, 2,400 families are receiving rent allowance.

Families who are entitled to social housing but are unable to acquire it – due to a lack of social housing – should receive a rent allowance. However,  over 10,000 Brussels residents who are entitled to the allowance did not receive it for eight years due to an accumulation of procedures and blunders, Bruzz writes.

The State Secretary for Housing Nawal Ben Hamou – and a member of the francophone socialist party – announced an improvement in the system with a simplified procedure and a new IT system, which seems to be reaping its fruits.

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The payout of rent allowances is now happening rapidly, as only 651 allowances had been paid in May compared to 2,370 in July, Hamou said on Thursday.

The 404 files of people who already received a rent allowance under the previous, cumbersome arrangement, were given priority.

'Not acceptable'

There are currently 12,668 applications for a Brussels rent allowance, of which 5,749 have been processed in the past three months, Hamou said. Of all the applications, 2,400 will receive their monthly allowance, 1,134 files are being processed, and the remainder of applications has either been rejected or awaits additional information.

The opposition remained very critical of the speed with which the grant files are being handled. N-VA's Mathias Vanden Borre noted that almost 7,000 files still have to be processed. According to him, it is not possible to do that by September, as Secretary of State Ben Hamou previously announced. “You’re not keeping your promise,” he said.

Vincent De Wolf stated that barely 20% of the families that have applied for a rent allowance receive the allowance, which he deemed unacceptable.

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