Brussels migrant hosts on the verge of a burn-out

Thursday, 11 April 2019 11:19
Brussels migrant hosts on the verge of a burn-out © Belga

Three and a half years after Brussels' civic platform began to welcome migrants, volunteers are exhausted, Le Soir reported today.

During the last few months, the association only organized two distributions per week, versus up to seven previously.

A roof, a meal, a shower. Citizens were very proactive during the early months, but receiving people they do not know, with a heavy history, is not an easy task in the long term.

The civic platform obtained the appropriate authorization to open a shelter at Porte d'Ulysse in Brussels, which has relieved the pressure on some of the hosts.

Around 8,000 individual families housed at least one person one day, but their number is decreasing. "Five or six hosts help some migrants that they know well, and they also assist them in their administrative procedures," founder of the association, Mehdi Kassou, told Le Soir.

Active individuals have been classified according to what they can offer to migrants. "Some are based in emergency shelters, others offer assistance with asylum requests, or with medical problems (...) but it is especially social work."

"We are waiting to see the election outcome. If the government is more progressive, the creation of a structural solution may be considered," said Kassou.

The platform estimates that between 7 and 8 hundred people request accommodation every day. In addition to the shelter, it manages to place 250 people in a hosting family. A solution is not found for around 200 migrants.

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