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More homeless shelters needed for families, says organisation

16:53 21/11/2017

Brussels is in urgent need of winter shelter for homeless families, according to Plate-forme mineurs en exil (Platform for Children in Exile), an umbrella organisation representing 50 Belgian groups that work with refugee minors.

“There are dozens of families with children sleeping on the streets of Brussels,” the organisation said in a statement on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day. “The winter shelters for the homeless opened last week, but none of them have spaces for families with children.”

Samusocial, which arranges the capital’s homeless shelters, does provide places to families year-round, but they are all full. The extra shelters provided during the winter are open to single men and women only.

According to Plate-forme, Samusocial shelters turn away 10 families with children every night. “This means that dozens of families are sleeping on the streets right now,” it said.

The organisation also pointed to the additional winter shelters that the federal government promised to open this year, but which have not yet materialised. “There is no clear information about when and where these shelters will open or if families with children will be able to go there.”

The organisation has asked that the governments work together to address the situation immediately. “A winter shelter for families needs to be opened, without further delay.”

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw