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).