You who has been protected by a legitimate governmental measure imposing a moratorium on evictions given the health situation, you are about to re-join the mass of those who, on September first, will be evicted. Nevertheless, as Housing Minister Mrs Ben Manou said during a recent interview, you have had plenty of time to contact the relevant services about being rehoused.

Has the Brussels Government given any thought to how it is going to absorb this mass of future homeless people?

As soon as you learnt that you would have to leave your home, you started your search for another place, but what with Covid and lockdown, there was a three-month period where you couldn’t visit any of the possibilities or get the paperwork sorted.

What should you have done when lockdown ended? First reaction, sign up for social housing with the hope of obtaining somewhere urgently. Only, since you were evicted because you weren’t able to pay your rent, you cannot claim it is an emergency. If it’s not an emergency, you’ll have an average wait of 7 to 12 years, depending on your circumstances.

Armed with this information, you plan to sign up with a housing association. The rents are higher than for social housing, but it’s better than being on the streets. No luck, the waiting lists are full until next year, that is if you can find a service that will submit your application.

Armed with this information, you go to your municiplity’s housing department or to your CPAS (assuming there is one), which will refer you to social housing, AIS, or an emergency accommodation centre. Regretfully, they inform you that these places are already full.

If you were relying on housing from the municipality, assuming you satisfy the conditions for applying and being granted such accommodation, there as well, you’ll find yourself at dead end. Their lists are just as long and availability is virtually non-existent.

Armed with this information, you decide to try one of the hotels which opened as a matter of urgency because of Covid. Except that these are starting to close now and people are heading back into the streets.

All that’s left now is for you to contact the Minister to enquire as to which services she was referring to. There must surely be a solution because the surge in evictions will have been planned for… The services which traditionally deal with rehousing will no doubt have received additional funds to manage this crisis.

Nevertheless, if that doesn’t work out, don’t worry, as is the case every year, there’s a plan. After you’ve waited just a few months on the streets, the winter plan and its emergency accommodation will soon be operational.

     Olivier, working to find housing with Street nurses

© P-Y Jortay - Street Nurses 2020