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Associations helping single parents struggle to make ends meet

15:04 22/10/2023

Brussels associations that provide support for single-parent families say they are overloaded and lacking critical resources needed to serve the vulnerable population.

A campaign to raise awareness about the burdens of single parenthood was initiated at the end of September, RTBF reports, and already organisations are seeing an uptick in people seeking support.

Single-parent families account for around a third of all families in Brussels. The awareness campaign aims to inform them of available resources, including the website which provides information on the services in the Brussels region.

Maison des Parents Solos has seen a sharp increase in the number of calls since it was launched.

“The telephone helplines are overloaded, as are the reception desks,” social worker and Maison des Parents Solos coordinator Kadija Bouchirab told RTBF.

“Our diaries are full. The campaign has had a knock-on effect, with even more single parents contacting the association.

"Two years ago, we were able to arrange an appointment within a week, or even the following week. Now, when we receive a call for social interviews, you have to wait three weeks to get an appointment."

There are few associations specialising in supporting single-parent families, despite the great demand for such aid.

Hamac ASBL, which was set up in 2018 to help single parents find volunteer childcare in their neighbourhood, shut down last year because it could not make ends meet.

“We stopped because, structurally, we didn't have enough financial support to hire enough people,” founder Julie Praet said.

Other organisations, including Maison des Parents Solos and the Ligue des Familles, want to revive Hamac ASBL but lack the funding to meet its estimated budget of €111,000 a year.

Written by Helen Lyons