Joséphine has been working for six years as a nurse in the non-profit organization "Street Nurses". She tells us about her daily work:
Accompanied by a nurse or social worker colleague, I go on daily marauding trips. It is a question of walking the streets of Brussels and going to meet homeless people. For some, it is a question of a first contact that sometimes lasts only a few seconds. With others, we have started a process of accompaniment for several weeks/months with the aim of rehousing them permanently.
Whether it's windy, rainy, freezing or very hot, life on the street is tough, both physically and psychologically.
Poor nutrition and lack of hygiene, coupled with a terrible lack of privacy and insecurity, deprive people of sleep and considerably weaken their health. When dealing with the most serious situations (many suffer from mental health problems), our doctor intervenes in the field to advise us and above all to strengthen the link to the most suitable medical facilities.
Without the patient's will to get through it, our scope of action remains very limited. We do not rush things! On the contrary, we take the time needed to restore confidence and motivate each person. You can't get off the street overnight...
Once rehoused, patients continue to be monitored regularly, as a return to the street is always possible and we want to avoid this at all costs.
By reinforcing their positive points, their resources, we set goals together according to their desires and abilities. Each challenge reached, small or big, is a real victory for the person. It means that they regain control over their life and it allows them to project themselves, to be in action. It makes them feel valued and gives them back their human dignity.
In 15 years of existence, we have rehoused over 156 people.
We hope, in the long run, to achieve an end to homelessness, together with all the actors of society.
© photos P-Y Jortay - Infirmiers de rue 2020