Share article:
Share article:

Coronavirus: how to help the homeless

© Belga

Four associations have come forth with suggestions on how to help the homeless in light of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic.

With homeless people’s living conditions being further complicated by coronavirus, the associations SDF Front Commun, Solidarité Bitume, Union Bruxelloise des SDF, and Rom en Rom have put forth ideas including the requisition of hotels for the homeless and putting students to work in so-called ‘social restaurants’, which cater to the homeless. 

The four associations point to the closing of day shelters and of most showers which offer minor medical care. On top of that, non-profit organisations that run social restaurants, showers and lockers are now in a difficult position as their volunteers are mainly seniors and are thus part of the population that’s particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. Another problem is that fewer and fewer businesses are allowing cash payments, which is often the only way homeless people can pay.

Related Articles

 

The associations suggest that students take the elderly’s place so that some activity can continue, and they ask cashiers in basic services to accept cash payments “when there is no other way.”

They also suggest to temporarily requisition empty housing “to house the homeless who must be confined,” noting that this is already being done in Charleroi and Brussels. “It would even be preferable to rent, or requisition hotels as is done in Brussels, for many hotels are empty, and this is cheaper than to requisition and furnish empty housing. Furthermore, requisition implies long delays,” the associations pointed out. 

Finally, they suggested setting up temporary toilets for homeless people to access and, as is the case in Liège, keeping social restaurants open while respecting social distancing rules.

This news comes after the charity Infirmiers de la Rue (Street Nurses) recently called for active testing of the homeless, as they “run a real risk of infection, and are in danger of becoming a source of contamination of others.” The government’s far-reaching measures on the catering industry also have their consequences for the homeless as the rules also apply to, for example, les Restos du Coeur, who have had to switch to takeaway in order to still cater to the homeless and those struggling to make ends meet.

Earlier today, it was revealed that a homeless man admitted to hospital on Friday tested positive for coronavirus and a second homeless man is still awaiting results.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Brussels Airport adds 10 flight destinations this winter
Some 130 destinations will be served from Brussels Airport this winter, the company announced on Monday, just a few days before the start of the ...
Brussels pharmacies report rush on rapid tests due to Covid Safe Ticket
Many pharmacists in Brussels have noticed a remarkable increase in the demand for Covid-19 tests this weekend, following the official expansion of ...
Students filmed naked on ULB campus given a warning
A group of students caught on camera mimicking sexual acts on the campus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have been issued an official ...
EU Digital Covid Certificate becomes an international success story
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...
EMA starts evaluating Pfizer vaccine for children over 5 years old
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started evaluating an application to extend the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ...
Energy prices: EU’s demand and supply dilemma in importing natural gas
The European Commission adopted last week a plan on how to tackle the rise in global energy prices in the short-term while relying on the transition ...
Tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels’ outskirts to airport
Works on a tram line connecting Brussels, the NATO headquarters and Brussels Airport in Zaventem, which could attract up to 10,000 passengers a day, ...
SKYFALL: European police complete counter-drone training in Antwerp
In a joint project between Belgium’s federal police and the Brussels Capital Ixelles Policing Area, 15 European police officers visited Antwerp to ...
Offshore wind farms could help reach climate neutrality by 2050
A study carried out by the Bureau fédérale du Plan (BFP) – an independent Belgian organisation that investigates questions of environmental and ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...