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Support for homeless extended as cold snap lingers

11:01 29/03/2013

Emergency winter aid for the homeless will continue for a fortnight as a result of the unseasonal freezing temperatures in Brussels, reports Flanders News. The Brussels Region is providing emergency accommodation for 400 homeless people and this measure will be extended for a further two weeks. Brussels ministers Brigitte Grouwels and Evelyne Huytebroeck say that, with freezing temperatures forecast at night for the next two weeks, there can be no question of leaving people to sleep on the streets. In addition to accommodation at night, day centres are being kept open for longer and people will be given an opportunity to rest during the daytime. Psychosocial help for homeless people is being increased too thanks to a pilot project that gets several aid organisations to work together. Federal social integration minister Maggie De Block has also decided to keep the accommodation for the homeless that the federal authorities provide in Brussels open for a further two weeks. “We have been closely monitoring occupancy rates during the entire winter. It’s clear freezing temperatures can be expected during the daytime and at night and we can’t take any risks by leaving people to sleep out,” she said. Providing emergency winter accommodation is a responsibility of the local authorities, but during the past two severe winters it has become clear that extra support is needed. De Block opened a special reception centre in Saint-Gilles providing an additional 300 places for homeless people at night. Winter accommodation for the homeless is usually provided from November 15 until March 31, during which time homeless people are given a bed, a meal and the chance to wash and use the facilities.

Written by The Bulletin