How to end homelessness in Belgium by 2030? Find here and in our new report the key elements, the highlights and the perspective of the debates of the conference “From dream to reality: ending homelessness in Belgium” held by Street Nurses in October 2022.

A street nurse and a homeless patient (copyright Pierre-Yves Jortay)

There are more and more homeless people in Belgium

The number of homeless people in Belgium keeps increasing. At the same time, their trajectories are becoming more complex, integrating various issues such as migration, mental health, addiction, ...

Yet, in June 2021, Belgium signed the Lisbon Declaration, setting itself the goal of ending homelessness by 2030. It is high time for an inter-federal strategy.

Housing is the key to ending homelessness

The conference entitled “From Dream to Reality: Ending Homelessness in Belgium” took place on 14 October 2022, and brought together experts from all over Belgium to discuss key issues, divided into 4 panels: data collection, housing, support and prevention.

“Within the four panels, the discussions regularly came back to housing and the reference address, which is a key condition for accessing certain social rights. In terms of health, the lack of housing puts people in situations of survival, and has a strong impact on their physical and mental health”, says Adrienne, Advocacy Officer at Street Nurses.

Adrienne insists that “it has been said over and over again: it is not enough to have the most competent homelessness sector possible. We also need other levers to act in a structural way, whether upstream to prevent people from falling into the street, or downstream to have the most appropriate support and healthy, dignified and affordable housing.”

Need for social housing for the homeless public

“As we know, access to housing on the private market has become extremely complex, which creates competition. Because of their vulnerability and the stigma attached to their profile, homeless people too often find themselves at the bottom of the pile,” says Juliette, Advocacy Collaborator at Street Nurses.

She concludes: “In order to guarantee them access to housing, it is necessary to set up a structural system of housing for the homeless public. Social housing therefore appears to be one of the most sensible options for this specific group.”

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