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Brussels homeless to be registered in database

13:58 27/03/2018

Brussels miniser Pascal Smet and Céline Fremault have completed their new proposal of measures for homeless policy in Brussels. One of the new measures is a central database that will register anyone who stays at a homeless shelter.

The electronic file will include basic information such as name, age and most recent address. But it will also includes more subjective information, such as how the person came to be homeless.

According to the ministers, the database will not only give the city an idea of how many homeless people there are, it will help organisations provide the most appropriate help. And it will be the basis for deciding if a social welfare agency in Wallonia or Flanders should be billed for Brussels’ role in caring for the homeless.

According to law, the region from where a homeless person was last registered as living is financially responsible for shelter services. Brussels could in the future, therefore, charge one of the other regions for their services.

Privacy concerns

Some organisations have expressed concerns about privacy. “A homeless person must have the right to share information about fleeing a domestic violence situation, for instance, with one organisation but not with another,” said a spokesperson with Ama, the Federation of Shelters and Homeless Services.

Smet said that not all organisations working with the homeless would have access to the database and then all people registered can update the information if needed. And a file must be deleted for anyone who is no longer homeless.

Another new measure, which will be discussed in the Brussels parliament tomorrow, is the creation of New Samusocial, a reform of the previously beleaguered Samusocial, and a second agency called Bruss’Help. New Samusocial would be responsible for shelter services, while Bruss’Help would conduct research into the homeless situation, policies and the state of services.

Photo: Laurie Dieffembacq/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw