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Homeless charity DoucheFlux launches housing project for most vulnerable
A Brussels-based non-profit association by the name of DoucheFlux has launched its first housing project with support of the region's Common Community Commission and a social housing authority.
DoucheFlux, which is active in helping the homeless, aims to provide vulnerable homeless people with immediate housing, along with counselling adapted to their needs.
The new building in the Rue de Laeken was made available by one of the 24 co-owners of DoucheFlux, and will house the association's offices, in addition to five studio apartments.
The housing project is supported by a multidisciplinary team that includes social workers, psychologists and experts in drug addiction risk reduction.
Together they hope to provide individual, intensive and personalised support to facilitate social inclusion for these most vulnerable people, in addition to promoting their recovery and helping them achieve autonomy through the sustainable return to traditional housing.
The number of people assisted through Housing First projects has tripled since 2019 to 290 people this year, according to Brussels social action minister Alain Maron (Ecolo)
“This housing first methodology, which starts with solving the housing problem, has proven its relevance,” Maron said.
“Emergency accommodation has its virtues but does not solve anything. Hence the need to continue to improve the quality of reception while insisting on housing assistance and expanding the number of available housing units via the Housing First schemes.”
But finding available housing in Brussels is a major problem.
“We are building a lot, but the problem is affordability and social accessibility,” Maron said, pointing out that rents are rising or are basically unaffordable, and private landlords lack ‘incentives’ to rent to vulnerable people.
Laurent d'Ursel, DoucheFlux's co-founder, sais another avenue to explore as Brussels is faced with its affordable housing crisis is the number of vacant buildings in the city.
DoucheFlux was founded in 2011 after a meeting between Brussels residents and the homeless. Faced with a dire lack of affordable showers and laundrettes in Brussels, volunteers decided to open a dynamic, convivial and approachable space where people living on the streets could regain their dignity – starting with hygiene.
After five years and €2 million of private support, the DoucheFlux day centre opened its doors in 2017, followed by a transit shelter in March 2020 to protect homeless women who had nowhere to stay during the lockdown.
This housing project is the charity's third major initiative, and makes them the sixth Housing First operator in the capital, according to Agence Belga.