Access to affordable housing is one of the best solutions for putting an end to homelessness. Unfortunately, homes in this category, where our patients can put their lives in order again in a relaxed atmosphere, are in short supply.
We therefore jumped at the opportunity when the municipality of Anderlecht offered to make a rent-sharing house available for our patients.
But the house must be renovated, which will cost Street Nurses 40,000 €. The works started at the end of 2022 and will last until the end of May 2023.
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What does this collective home look like?
It’s a typical Brussels townhouse that will be split up. The ground floor has a living room, a kitchen, sanitary facilities, and a courtyard where communal activities can be organized. In addition, each tenant has his/her own two rooms.
Who are the future tenants?
The house will be divided among three people; or even four if a couple decides to move in.
These persons must have a profile suitable to live together as rent-sharers. Some may insist on privacy while still needing support – others may be independent while enjoying living with other people.
In the next three months we’ll decide who among our patients is ready to leave the street or to move to this new home from an earlier one that proved to be less suitable.
Our aim is to develop among the rent-sharers a dynamic which makes them help each other in difficult moments. Of course, we’ll always be available to assist them because persons who lived on the street for several years, keep little or no human contact - which complicates the return to social life.
The idea of this common living space also aims at helping people better to integrate and share their experiences. Activities organized by tenants and outsiders facilitate contacts, conversation, exchanges of views, thus breaking people’s isolation and making them value their home.
40,000 € to transform a house into a home.
Before our patients can move in, the house must be renovated with a price tag of 40,000 €. It needs new sanitary facilities, a new kitchen, and repairs of floor and roof. In addition, there will be administrative costs and costs for furniture.
We’ll entrust the renovation to the non-profit organisation Casablanco, which has been active in the field of social economy for 17 years. This organization supports social professional integration, in particular in the building sector, of people who encounter difficulties on the labour market. They also work for the improvement of living conditions in the Brussels Region, especially in underprivileged urban areas.
Three big benefits
First, we want to give homeless people a home, where they can sort out their lives in a surrounding that meets their needs.
Moreover, the project will put an abandoned or uninhabited house, of which there are thousands in Brussels, back to good use.
And if the experiment is successful, other homeless people can in future benefit from this sort of housing, with the support of the Anderlecht municipality, and thanks to the assistance of our field teams.
An exciting project
"We often see that solitude and a sense of isolation are among the main problems for people who move into a home. Diversity in the housing on offer is an important element among the things that people need most. The project is extremely interesting because rent-sharing is something new and exciting. It can create among the tenants an atmosphere inviting to meet and chat, and to helping each other whenever necessary. In addition, we will always be there to accompany them in their daily life. I really hope our supporters will help us realize this beautiful opportunity."
- Sarah, nurse in the Hosing First department.