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Brussels sports centre opens to the homeless during the day

Credit: © Belga

As the lack of available shelters for the homeless begins to turn into a crisis with the arrival of freezing temperatures and snow this week, the Brussels neighbourhood of Forest has converted a sports centre into a day-shelter.

Homeless people looking to escape the cold will be able to get coffee and soup in the cafeteria there between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM on weekdays, Bruzz reports. There are also cots, blankets, and sleeping bags available.

The news comes as regular shelters across the capital are filling to capacity, prompting some people to seek shelter in an empty, dilapidated housing complex.

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Brussels – which has the largest homeless population in all of Belgium – 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.

Temperatures could drop to -13 degrees tonight and the freezing cold weather is expected to last through to Sunday, making shelter an urgent priority for those without homes.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times