Homeless occupy empty housing complex in Brussels to escape cold
Share article:
Share article:

Homeless occupy empty housing complex in Brussels to escape cold

© Matthew Woitunski, Wikimedia

A social housing complex in the Woluwe-Saint-Lambert neighborhood is currently being occupied by homeless people seeking shelter from the freezing temperatures.

Brussels, which has the highest number of homeless people in all of Belgium, has been struggling to find enough space in its existing shelters to protect the vulnerable population from the cold.

The city claimed it would keep the three largest train stations in the capital open 24h a day for the homeless, but then walked this back to just one station after only one night.

Related Posts

 

Laurent d’Ursel, the founder of a union for the homeless, told Bruzz that there are under ten people currently taking shelter in the unused complex in Brussels, including a woman and her two children, plus a few others who were evicted from their apartments.

“The priority is to provide a roof,” d’Ursel said. “The situation is urgent due to the cold.”

Aid organisations including Doctors Without Borders are calling on cities to open unused housing to the homeless during these freezing days, but some are worried that the occupation of the complex in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert is “irresponsible,” given the building’s condition.

“Inside, these buildings are really rotten,” an employee of the social housing company told Bruzz. “There are bugs in the buildings, and foxes too. The woodwork is so rotten that you could sink through the floor.”

The building is supposed to be renovated by the end of the year, but that work hasn’t yet begun.

Its location is being kept under wraps, so as not to attract more attention. An agreement on the occupation of the building has not yet been reached with Mayor Olivier Maingain (Défi).

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Cycling traffic officially added to VRT’s traffic bulletin
Usually a list of updates for drivers on busy roads, traffic bulletins will now include the latest travel news for cyclists in Belgium, VRT announced ...
MEPs call for European strategy to protect workers from asbestos
Members of the European Parliament are calling on the Commission to create a strategy for removing all abestos from buildings in order to reduce the ...
Mandatory vaccine for carers: employers call for sanctions
In a notice submitted by the National Council for Work (CNT), employers have called for heavy penalties for healthcare workers who refuse to receive ...
Police pension protest blocks several Brussels crossroads
On Wednesday, around 350 police officers expressed their dissatisfaction about the unclear pension scheme, low salaries and politicised police unions ...
Belgium in Brief: A Consultative Committee Sequel
Sequels often have a lot to live up to and when it comes to movie franchises, it gets difficult to keep up the hype once you get towards the final ...
25 years ago today: 300,000 people marched in white against child abuse
On this day 25 years ago, over 300,000 people marched in Brussels to demand a more effective justice system and to support the families of Julie, ...
Windy weather forecast should lower gas prices
After weeks of relatively calm conditions, a return to windy weather should lower Europe's soaring energy prices. Wind turbines in the UK and Germany ...
EC calls on candidate countries to focus on fundamental reforms before they can join the EU
The Commission adopted yesterday its 2021 Enlargement Package, providing a detailed assessment of the state of play and the progress made by the ...
Cigarette-eating robot patrols Ghent streets to fight littering
A litter fighting (and eating) robot will be patrolling the streets of Ghent in the coming weeks in an effort to raise awareness of the growing ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...
Brussels Airport becomes shareholder in SkeyDrone
The Brussels Airport company has signed an agreement to become a 50 percent shareholder in SkeyDrone, a subsidiary of skeyes, the Belgian Air ...
Two former Belgian top executives plead guilty to bid manipulation in the US
Two former Belgian top executives of the security company G4S have pleaded guilty in the US to bid rigging, according to reporting from De Tijd. ...