Émilie Meessen is a young nurse when she makes the following observation: despite the large number of medico-social associations present in Brussels, there are still many homeless people. Together with her friend, Sara Janssens, they decided to found the non-profit organization Street Nurses in 2005.
Over the years, the NPO has developed a methodology based on hygiene and health, in order to create a link with the most vulnerable homeless people and to help them find stable and sustainable housing. In 2011, housing has become an essential part of our work.
Today, begin 2023, Street Nurses has 50 employees in Brussels and 10 employees in Liège, a multidisciplinary team of nurses, social workers, educators, a doctor, and a management team.
The organization is active with teams on the streets, in housing for re-housed people and a team of research and creation of housing. In addition, it also develops awareness-raising and advocacy activities in order to arrive at structural solutions that will end homelessness in Brussels, Liège and elsewhere.
Street Nurses is recognised for its results and its efficient way of working in partnership with the different medico-social actors.
Our charter: mission, vision, values
“Accompany homeless people on their way to re-integration”
Street Nurses is a psycho-medical-social organisation that strives to get homeless people off the streets in a lasting way, focusing primarily on the most vulnerable. We work according to a proven method, which starts with the restoration of hygiene and self-esteem, and the development of talents.
Our action is aimed at structural and sustainable solutions: we seek to bring homeless people back into housing on a long-term basis by finding or creating housing adapted to their needs and by offering our patients appropriate psycho-medico-social follow-up.
To achieve our mission, we also carry out training, awareness-raising and mobilisation activities for citizens, as well as for political, economic and community leaders.
“Together, let’s end homelessness”
We are convinced that homelessness is not a fatality. In our view of society, homelessness must as good as disappear, become an exception and, even then, be of very short duration. We want every person living on the street to be accompanied in such a way that he/she can forever opt out of street-life. By learning from our own experience and that of other associations and institutions we’re always striving for the best methods.
We want our actions to have ever better impact, to stimulate global solutions (including the prevention and monitoring of homelessness, the question of housing, co-operation among all actors…). We get inspired by new ideas to banish homelessness and want to help them flourish. We want to be among the benchmarks whose voices count, exchange, and promote best practice – at national and international level.
“Valorize. Innovate. Mobilize”
The work of our organization is done, day after day, by a professional team, enthusiastically and fully committed to homeless people. That work is based on cooperation, benevolence, in a spirit of encouragement and respect. We valorize the talents of our patients and the members of our team. Should problems arise, we make sure that everybody handles them in a positive spirit, looking for solutions.
We are convinced that every homeless person can again become a full member of society. We are constantly looking for innovative solutions, even if that requires leaving trodden paths and shaking up the status quo.
We’re committed to working with partners in other organizations and public administration. But we remain attached to our independence to be free to experiment with new solutions to the problem of homelessness.