Brussels getting ready to reorganize emergency aid and reintegration of the homeless
    Share article:

    Brussels getting ready to reorganize emergency aid and reintegration of the homeless

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Just before the plenary session discussions and vote on the inquiry commission’s recommendations, the Brussels Parliament Social Affairs Commission will begin to examine Wednesday the draft legislation that aims to better oversee assistance to the homeless. Subject to its adoption within a few weeks, the text will give shape to the commitment to create a “NewSamusocial,” an association that moves into the public realm, by taking over the asbl Samusocial’s former missions which gave assistance to persons requesting accommodation.

    Elaborated at the initiative of Ministers Céline Fremault (cdH) and Pascal Smet (SP.A), the document also plans to entrust the coordination of all aid facilities to another public structure, the asbl “Bruss’Help.” This entity will also be requested to direct the homeless towards the various services. It will analyze the causes of this phenomenon, which is on the increase in Brussels, so as to better provide against it.

    The NewSamusocial, like Bruss’Help, will be submitted to a management contract and will have to give full account for their activities, revenues and expenditure.

    The other active services on the field will be recognized, via an accreditation granting them access to public financial means. This concerns those that have been in existence for a long time, as well as new aid facilities (Housing First, day centers…).

    Besides the “carrot,” i.e. the grants, there will also be the “stick,” i.e. sanctions for anyone who will try to set up activities that are not recognized by accreditation.

    Beyond the emergency aid, particularly during the winter, the future legislation’s objective will be the accompaniment towards lasting accommodation and social integration in a city with a specific economic, demographic and immigration situation.

    In order to reinforce the efficiency of the accompaniment of the homeless through different aid facilities, the future legislation will oversee the setting up of a social file for every person without shelter, so as to facilitate also the gathering of information.

    Moreover, the gathering of information will not be done carelessly. A series of benchmarks are intended to protect the right to privacy of the persons who will have communicated their data, and who will be informed of the use that will have been made of them. Access to this information will be strictly limited to the social actors working in the person’s interest, and who will be subject themselves to professional secrecy.

    The person benefitting from an emergency accommodation will be able to remain anonymous if so desired.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times