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Brussels-City rents hotel rooms for homeless asylum-seekers

17:51 07/12/2021

Brussels-City has rented 100 hotel beds to house asylum-seekers who are sleeping rough. Up to 100 migrants are currently spending nights on the street around the Petit-Château immigration centre.

Every day a long line forms at the entrance to Petit-Château, where asylum requests are processed. There is not enough accommodation available for everyone, and so priority is given to women, families and unaccompanied minors. This means that single men can get turned away for weeks and remain homeless.

Working with BXLRefugees and Doctors Without Borders, Brussels-City has is funding the rental of 100 beds in a hotel in Saint-Gilles to house some of the migrants. Mayor Philippe Close said that housing asylum-seekers is not the municipality’s responsibility but “we cannot let people sleep rough in the winter”.

The situation is temporary; there are plans underway to turn the building that until recently housed the Jules Bordet Institute into a shelter for up to 200 migrants. That will be ready before the end of the month.

Close emphasised, however, that Brussels-City should not have to deal with this issue at all. “It’s the federal government’s job, and it needs to show some responsibility here. This crisis could have been avoided, and it should really be brought to an end quickly.”

Photo ©Virginie Lefour/BELGA


Written by Lisa Bradshaw