Émilie Meessen, a graduate in nursing and community health, has been working in the homelessness sector in Brussels for 2 years when she makes the following observation: despite the presence of a developed network of associations in Brussels, the number of homeless people remains considerable in the streets of the capital.
She believes that a medically based approach can lead to new solutions. Together with her friend Sara Janssens, they decided to found the Street Nurses NPO (Infirmiers de rue ASBL).
On 8 January 2006, the adventure could begin!
Over the years, thanks to the experience in the field and the adaptability of its workers, the organisation has developed and refined its methodology. It is based on reintegration through hygiene and health. The aim is to create a link with the most vulnerable homeless people, while promoting their self-esteem. Little by little, the vision is widening and the re-housing is gaining momentum. In 2011, the creation of a ‘at home’-department, in addition to the street-department, will formalise this element, which has become essential to the methodology.
Having demonstrated that it is possible for everyone to leave the street - regardless of the number of years on the streets or the complexity of the problems – Street Nurses now aims to end homelessness in Brussels and Liege, where it has opened a branch in 2019.
In order to achieve this, in addition to strengthening its collaboration with the network, it is developing activities to raise awareness among the general public and to advocate for comprehensive and structural care.
For it is only by working together that homelessness can be ended.
Thanks to the intensive support of Street Nurses, and in close cooperation with its partners, almost 150 of the most vulnerable people have been able to find and maintain a new "home" over the last 10 years.
Today, the association employs around 30 people in Brussels and Liege, not forgetting the many volunteers and donors who provide essential support.
Thanks to all of you for making this possible!