A tribute was paid to the 72 homeless who died in 2016 at the Hôtel de Ville in Brussels

A tribute was paid to the 72 homeless who died in 2016 at the Hôtel de Ville in Brussels

About 300 people attended the tribute ceremony organised by the association "Les Morts de la Rue" at 11.00 am at the Brussels City Hall in honor of the 72 homeless people who died in 2016. More than fifty people went to gather at Place de l'Albertine at 14:00, near the tree planted in memory of those that died on the street.

This 12th ceremony was commenced by Alain Courtois, the alderman of Worship and Civil Status, affirming the support of the City of Brussels for this initiative. Of those who spoke, six were relatives of the deceased street residents. A representative of the Polish Consulate also wished to p0int out the aid it was willing to provide to its nationals in view of the large number of homeless Polish people who died in Brussels this year (20 people, ie 27.7% ). Representatives of secular thought and religious cults have rendered conventional tributes. After mentioning each of the 72 names, the association of Brussels Poets read extracts of texts composed especially for the occasion. They will be available on the blog of the association and on the website of the international house of literature in Brussels Passa Porta.

An embroidery of 73 pieces, one for each deceased person and one for those whose names were not reported to the Les Morts de la Rue association, was made. It was affixed to the trunk of the tree planted on Place de l'Albertine after a moment of silence.

The group Les Morts de la Rue was informed in 2016 of 72 deaths of people who were living in the streets of Brussels at the time, 13 of which had access to housing, six lived in shelters and 40 lived on the street at the times of their deaths. The association notes that 17 of these deaths took place on public streets. None were related to the weather. Of the 72 deceased persons enumerated, there were 70 men and 2 women. The youngest was 22 years old and the oldest 76. The average age of the deceased was 52 years. Europeans account for the majority of street deaths (86%). Most of them are Belgian nationals (43%). The association does not notice any significant impact in connection with the migratory crisis. The number of deaths reported to the association  has been steadily increasing since its establishment, following the deaths of two homeless people in 2005 at the South Station. The group believes that this increase can not be attributed to expansion in recent years as growth has ceased.

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