More than half of Brussels’ homeless have lived on the streets for more than a year
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    More than half of Brussels’ homeless have lived on the streets for more than a year

    © Belga
    A third of survey participants said that they suffered from a chronic illness, affecting one of the vital organs.
    © Belga

    Nearly 60% of homeless people questioned during the ‘Face-à-Face’ (Face-to-Face) action for accommodation, had not had secure and permanent accommodation for over a year. The findings emerged during the campaign, 400Toits. The campaign’s aim is to find 400 flats by the end of 2020. Nearly 300 homeless people were interviewed about their journey as a homeless individual, and their housing requirements.

    Out of 276 people agreeing to take part in the survey, 84% were men and 81% said that they usually slept outside. A third of survey participants said that they suffered from a chronic illness affecting one of the vital organs. One in two people said that they have suffered abuse since being homeless. The greatest number of years spent on the streets amongst survey participants is 24 years.

    Compared to the previous survey, conducted in June 2017, the proportion of people with the highest degree of vulnerability remained consistent. However, there were higher numbers coming from Africa, and also women, in 2018. Moreover, the proportion of women had also increased within both those who had spent over a year on the streets, but also those whose lifestyle included elements dangerous to their health (examples being prostitution, exchange of needles and others).

    With this observation in mind, looking to the future the 400Toits campaign continues to advocate introducing a structural policy to bring an end to homelessness.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times