Brussels postpones migrants’ eviction from citizen-led housing centre
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    Brussels postpones migrants’ eviction from citizen-led housing centre

    The migrant reception centre will be able to continue using a public building for an additional eight days. Credit: Plateforme citoyenne de soutien aux réfugiés Bruxelles/Facebook

    Homeless migrants staying in a housing centre run by a citizen non-profit will be able to continue sleeping there for a few additional days, Brussels authorities announced Friday.

    The announcement comes as a last-ditch measure from authorities to drag out the migrants’ eviction from the centre to 30 September, after the non-profit stepped up calls for an alternative housing solution to be provided.

    At the start of the month, Brussels authorities said that they would not renew the lease under which the citizen aid group Plateforme d’Aide aux Citoyens had been granted use of a public building.

    The centre, known as the Porte d’Ulysse, houses an estimated 350 undocumented migrants every night, the bulk of who are in Belgium temporarily and who ultimately hope to reach the United Kingdom.

    But despite repeated calls from the aid group for authorities to act on the issue, local and federal authorities have put no solution or alternative on the table, with the competent federal minister saying on Friday the migrants were “not under her competency.”

    “These are people that are here illegally, and, for them, I am not competent,” Federal Migration Secretary Maggie De Block said, according to BX1. “It was Brussels who provided [them] with housing, I’m not the one who should pay the bill,” she added.

    The eight-day postponement will give the aid group a few extra days to organise the logistics of the relocation, a spokesperson for Brussels’ minister of social affairs, Alain Maron, told Bruzz.

    The building, ran by regional developer citydev.brussels, is set to be transformed into a regional school to train public safety, prevention first aid personnel.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times