Ending homelessness is a political choice
In 2020 the number of homeless and inadequately housed people exceeded 5300, three times as much as in 2008 – a number increased even further each year by successive crises (health, economy, migration, etc.)
Our team and organisations active in the field do remarkable work to rehouse homeless people and to reintegrate them into society. But they cannot on their own offer housing to the growing number of people living on the street.
At Street Nurses we are convinced that, together, we will be successful in ending homelessness. And that this requires a different mentality, especially at political level.
Housing is essential for ending homelessness
Belgium is a signatory to the Declaration of Lisbon, committing itself to end homelessness by 2030. Avoiding homelessness, policy with regard to homelessness, health, access to rights and affordable housing, including the effect of migration flows…
On each of these issues Belgium must take essential action to reach the goal of ending homelessness. A decent home is a necessary condition for the reintegration of each homeless person into society.
Structural measures, especially with a view to access to affordable and durable housing, are essential to end homelessness.
Give homeless people easier access to social housing
The 10 years of experience we now have with Housing First convinced us that homeless people should get better access to housing.
This is above all a fundamental social right, laid down at international, regional and national level. In Belgium, article 23 of the Constitution guarantees the right to “decent housing”.
Our objective? The establishment of an obligatory quota of social housing, reserved by public real estate companies.
Lobbying by Street Nurses
The creation of the Advocacy team resulted from our wish to strengthen our influence, already visible in the field. We want to cooperate, convince, and exert more pressure on politicians whose decisions and actions strongly impact living conditions of homeless people.
The Advocacy team cooperates with different actors to effectively end homeless rather than just manage it:
- Though synergies with agents who are active fighting homelessness and related issues, through participation in consultative bodies and in mobilisation actions and joint campaigns
- Through interpellation of politicians in (in)formal gatherings, drafting documents and articles, with citizen support
- By supporting actions that reflect our values and missions, like opinion pieces, participation in mobilisation actions.