Brussels Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort and the ministers of Aid to Persons in the Common Community Commission, Céline Fremault (cdH) and Pascal Smet (sp.a), inaugurated on Wednesday 190 additional places of accommodation in a building acquired in 2015 by the Brussels region Boulevard Poincaré, not far from the South Station. Some 110 places are for families; 80 others will be assigned to the accommodation of homeless people who took refuge in the subway.
110 other places were already available all year round and managed by Samu in the Rue du Petit-Rempart. According to Ms Fremault, at these two sites 120 additional places of accommodation are reserved for families with children, which are also accessible throughout the year on the territory of the municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, as well as accommodation offered by The ASBL Ariane and Pierre d’Angle.
The addition to the offer of accommodation is being implemented as the winter accommodation system ended on Tuesday. The objective of this extension of the offer is to guarantee an increasing number of annual and not only seasonal accommodation to help the most vulnerable groups. By 2020, the building will be renovated with a regional investment of more than five and a half million euros. Its capacity will eventually reach 400 people. During the renovation work, the building will remain operational.
At a press conference, the Brussels ministers stressed that the current capacity of the homeless in Brussels was sufficient, at least as far as their area of responsibility was concerned. Like his colleagues, Pascal Smet (sp.a) deplored the absence of federal measures for the care of migrants in transit in Belgium, which occupy spaces in or near railway stations. “We do not want to come into conflict in this regard, but it is up to the federal government to solve this problem”, he said.