Everything you need to know:
Street nurses’ work is long-term: taking people off the streets who have been homeless for a long time, who have accumulated both physical and psychological problems, and reintegrating them into society permanently. It is a laborious process and comes with a high cost. However, various studies have shown that it is not only preferable from a human point of view to put such a service in place, but that is also economically advantageous for the society. Leaving these people in the streets has a higher cost for society than rehousing them and taking care of them.
Every year, we are in touch with around 600 homeless individuals. We have the capacity to accompany of 30-35 people in the street at the time. In addition, we are always counselling around 60 individuals who have already been rehomed.
Over the last 10 years, Street nurses has succeeded in permanently taking some 150 people (situation beginning 2021) off the streets. Some are still receiving support, others have found their way by themselves and are now living in a nursing home, or have returned to their home country. Sadly some of these people have now passed away.
We have also noticed in Brussels that the pathologies of the people we monitor today are, on average, less severe than in the first years of our operation. Even though we do not have scientific data on this, we would like to think that over the years we have been able to remove the most severe cases and the most long-term homeless people from the streets. The population that is still there today could therefore, on average, be reintegrated more quickly.
In Liège, on the other hand, where we only started working in 2019 and where there was no intensive medical follow-up for homeless people on the street before, we are now again meeting people with very serious physical and psychological medical problems. A situation that reminds us of the situation some ten years ago in Brussels.
The experience gained over many years in Brussels will surely help to make faster progress in Liege.
However, our impact is not limited to the homeless people with whom we are working. Our goal is clear and ambitious: to put an end to homelessness in Brussels, Liege and other towns. Believing this is possible is the first step. This is why we do not limit ourselves to sharing our expertise with numerous organisations – both in Belgium and abroad; we also dedicate a lot of energy to shaping public opinion and influencing policy so as to find structural solutions. The fact that people are today talking about ‘the end of homelessness’ in the entire sector, also demonstrates our impact on how people think about the subject.
We have an annual budget. This is the sum of money that we believe we will need, to make our work possible over the course of the year. The budget is put together by Street nurses’ employees, submitted to the board, and finally approved by the general assembly. The board and general assembly includes volunteers, who are not being paid for their work.
There are three main sources for our budget. You play an important role in this.
As a matter of fact, all of our work started when we received large and small donations; from friends, family, from people touched by the plight of homeless people. For us, these donations remain a very significant proportion of our income. Today, we receive not only donations from several thousands of individuals – you are perhaps one of these – but also from businesses, clubs, parishioners and from many other kinds of initiatives that support our work in a selfless way.
These donations are extremely valuable to us. They are the basis of our funding, but also guarantee our independence and flexibility.
We can also count on grants from public authorities. These come mainly from l'INAMI (the Institut national d'assurance maladie), COCOM (the Commission communautaire commune) in Brussels, and from the Walloon Region for our work in Lièges.
None of these grants is automatically awarded. Every year, we need to submit dossiers and evaluations and wait to find out exactly how much we will receive.
Finally, we also apply to all kinds of foundations, (such as the King Baudouin Foundation), where we submit requests for projects, or respond to calls for specific projects. And we contact businesses, with whom we make sponsorship agreements. In these cases, the sponsors receive something concrete in return for the funds they provide.
Would you like to know more about the financial management or fundraising carried out by the non-profit organisation Street nurses?
Street Nurses is first and foremost an organisation based on the human commitment of people who care for other people. It is therefore not surprising that staff costs take the largest share of our budget, around 80%.
We spend the remaining 20% on the purchase of medical and hygienic equipment, on equipping our teams, on small expenses for our patients, on communication & fundraising actions, on awareness raising & political lobbying activities and on general running costs.
Over the years, we have also built up a reserve, as in some years income has ended up exceeding expenditure. This reserve is vital for an organization such as Street Nurses, on the one hand to be able to absorb late payments or unexpected reductions in subsidies, on the other hand to allow us to invest in temporary recruitment of additional staff, to set up an innovative project or to support our communication and fundraising.
If you have any questions, you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Each year we draw up a final balance sheet of our accounts. The accounts are kept by the Head of Finance of Infirmiers de rue and the Fiduciary Cogitax. As for the administrative processing of human resources, this is done via the external social secretariat SDworx.
The annual accounts of Street Nurses are audited by a certified accountant of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisors (ITAA) of the firm BFS (Belgian Financial Services) and then deposited at the National Bank (search under the company number 0876.908.803 of Infirmiers de rue ASBL).
We also transfer our accounts to Donorinfo - an interest group of private donors - who publish them on their website. You can also consult them yourself on this site.
We are also members of the Association for Ethical Fundraising (VEF). Each year it asks for a number of financial figures, mainly to check the balance between our expenditure on our real mission - the reintegration of the homeless - and our fundraising costs.
In order to be able to guarantee tax deductibility to our donors, we need the approval of the FPS Finance. Every three to six years, the administration carries out a thorough audit of our accounts before granting this approval for a subsequent period.
Finally, from time to time, the funding agencies also carry out an audit of our financial management.
© P-Y Jortay - Street Nurses 2020