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Brussels region turns former police station into homeless shelter

14:53 21/01/2023

A former police station in the Brussels neighbourhood of Schaerbeek has been completely renovated and converted into a homeless shelter.

Homelessness has been on the rise in Brussels, especially amid the worsening refugee crisis in the past few years.

The capital’s existing shelters are frequently at capacity, and when the winter months bring below-freezing temperatures the city often temporarily converts public places such as train stations into overnight shelters.

The newly converted Schaerbeek police station will operate year-round, able to house 89 people in a building of around 2,500m². It features 28 rooms with one to four beds each.

The centre is managed by local aid organisation Samusocial, which also provides support for social reintegration.

The extensive works for the transformation began back in March 2021 and finished in October 2022, and included improvements to the building’s energy efficiency.

The Brussels region currently offers 3,713 spots for its homeless population: 2,833 emergency and integration accommodation places, nearly 900 places for migrants and 500 places via the Help Ukraine collective accommodation, according to data provided by the office of Alain Maron, minister of the government of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Written by Helen Lyons