The parliament of the Brussels region has approved a proposal to reorganise the services it provides to homeless people in the capital. The decision comes a year after the scandal which implicated the homeless agency Samusocial, as well as former mayor Yvan Mayeur, in allegations of financial mismanagement. Mayeur, the former chair of the agency, was alleged to have taken fees, together with his protégé and successor Pascale Paraïta, worth up to €17,000 for attendance at meetings that never actually took place. Mayeur stepped down and was expelled from the French-speaking socialist party; Paraïta was removed from her post, but continues to fight the decision.
Under the new proposal, the work would be taken over by two new non-profit organisations: Bruss’Help, which would coordinate the various services and direct homeless persons to the correct one; and New Samusocial, which would be in charge of providing shelter for the homeless.
Both non-profits would be responsible for providing the Brussels-City council with full information on their activities, income and spending.
Brussels is recognised as having particular problems regarding poverty and unemployment, especially among young people, demographics and migration.
The plan was drawn up my Brussels ministers Céline Fremault and Pascal Smet. “This new structure will provide a new balance between the work of social integration and the emergency provision of shelter,” Fremault said. “The main principle is clear: the provision of emergency shelter that’s unconditional and free of charge. That applies to all of the homeless, with or without papers. They will all be treated the same way.”