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Activists call for new legal definition of homelessness

15:13 03/10/2019

A group of activists protested at the Finance Tower in Brussels on Thursday morning to demand a new legal definition for homelessness.

The protest was organised ahead of an EU meeting on the rights of homeless people that is taking place at the Federal Public Planning Service Social Integration today.

“For more than 20 years, we’ve fought for the right of a homeless person to be domiciled at an OCMW, so they can obtain a valid ID,” said Jean Peeters of the Gemeenschappelijk Daklozenfront (Homeless United Front), referring to Belgium’s social aid agency.

In Belgium, homeless people can assess social assistance and social rights by registering at the address of another person, an NGO or a local social welfare agency.

“This worked well but OCMWs are now starting to make things very difficult for us by imposing impossible requirements and so the homeless are left behind empty-handed,” Peeters told Bruzz.

Peeters and his fellow protesters want the rights of a homeless person in Belgium to be tied to the country’s national register. “Once you’re in the national register, you should also be entitled to for instance unemployment benefits or pension payments,” Peeters explained.

Written by Linda A. Thompson

Photo: Belga / Eric Vidal