Just one week after shelters for Brussels’ homeless officially opened, a total of 643 beds have already been taken. In fact, the maximum number of 900 people has almost been reached, but many people register, then do not come.
The Samusocial’s winter plan started on Monday, November 16th. Brussels city authorities, the region of Brussels, and federal authorities, all pitched in to provide 600 additional beds to add to the 300 permanent ones. The extra 600 are shared between two premises: 300 at the Rue Royale site in Brussels, close to the Botanique, and 300 at Schaerbeek’s Rue Kennis centre.
Some 400 beds were snapped up as of the very first night the centres were open, reservations almost hitting 900. “We are dealing with a quite a degree of randomness at the moment,” reports Samusocial spokesperson Christophe Thielens. “Some people are able to find last minute accommodation with friends or family; others are finding it difficult to abide by the rules each centre sets - the ban on alcohol or the fact that guests must be in the rooms by 11:00pm.”
Samusocial has decided it needs to contact various associations to check if some reservations could be cancelled. At the Botanique site, Samusocial received 363 reservations for 300 beds available, yet only 251 people actually turned up for the beds.