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Housing for immigrants sought as host families go on holiday

17:07 11/07/2018

The citizens’ platform BXLRefugees is working with a number of Brussels municipalities to find temporary shelter for migrants during the summer months. The reason is that most of the families who have opened up their homes to newcomers have gone or will go on holiday.

One of the cornerstone programmes of BXLRefugees is matching immigrants who arrive in Brussels with host families. The immigrants have generally registered with the Immigration Office and are waiting on residency permits.

But, like the rest of Belgium, these families are leaving en masse on summer holiday. That is leaving some 200 people with no roof over their heads for part of the summer. “On Monday night, we were 50 beds too short,” said Medhi Kassou of BXLRefugees.

Kassou is in talks with Brussels authorities, but also those just over the border in Flanders and Wallonia. They are considering the use of certain empty buildings as well as schools – empty in the summer – for temporary housing.

In addition to host families, newly arrives immigrants can stay in a shelter in Haren, which is currently hosting 300 people a night. Samusocial is also accepting immigrants in its homeless shelters.

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw