We have known Mr. O. for many years. He was pointed out to us in 2017 and we have actively followed him up since January 2019. But today we don’t quite know any more where we are heading.
The patients we accompany seldom fit into the right boxes to reintegrate successfully and rebuild a relatively dignified existence. And for Mr. O. that’s even more difficult. He suffers from a heap of problems: he has no Belgian papers, and a long and difficult history; he is addicted to several products and needs a wheelchair to get around.
Et pour Monsieur O., c'est encore plus difficile. Il cumule les problèmes : il n'a pas de papiers en Belgique, il a une longue histoire difficile, il a une addiction à plusieurs produits et il se déplace en chaise roulante.
But he is not sick enough to be regularised for medical reasons. He drinks too much so that some centers for people without papiers won’t let him in. He needs a wheelchair, and most Brussels shelters are not accessible for people with reduced mobility.
Street Nurses is an organisation full of hope, and sometimes miracles happen thanks to the network, the open mind of all concerned, and thanks to creativity. But in this case, we’re at the end of our tether.
And this in spite of his improvement over several months. He followed treatment and then revalidation to learn how to walk with a prothesis. Really incredible!
But at a certain moment he could no longer stay in hospital, had no income in Belgium and thus no place to stay.
That’s how he landed back on the street.
We may still be able to do something about this, but without a medium or long-term solution. It’s really enough to despair.
He is still young and has many plans, but in the sort of life he leads he cannot keep his head above water. And we don’t know any more what to do to get him a shelter and to look after him.
Street Nurses does fantastic work but sometimes we run into a complicated system that offers us no solutions. But we don’t abandon hope. We’ll manage somehow. Even if it takes a long time.
- M., social worker in the street department
(*) We do our utmost to respect the privacy of our patients and our professional secrecy. However, we want to testify to how they must survive and how we are working together to reintegrate them. As a result, the names of places and people are deliberately omitted or changed and real-life situations are placed in a different context. There is no direct link between the photos and the stories above.