Despite the availability of support services for homeless people in Brussels, homelessness is a growing problem in our city. In 2014, more than 400 people were sleeping in the streets, an increase of 25% since 2010.
The 2016 census showed that this situation has increased again, with more than 700 people living on the street. In the city of Brussels in the 21st century, we believe that no one should sleep on the streets and it is time to find new ways of housing.
Living in the street is harmful and dangerous. Homeless people die prematurely: the average age of death of men who have been homeless is 47; for women, it’s 45 years old.
These people are also more likely to suffer from mental health problems. But homelessness does not only affect people sleeping on our streets; it also has an impact on the entire community.
The 400Toits campaign, which aims to find 400 homes by 2020, is part of a larger movement. It joins the European campaign on homelessness coordinated by World Habitat in collaboration with FEANTSA (European Federation of National Associations working with the homeless).
Face-to-face for housing – Edition September 2018
The results of the first face-to-face meeting for a home in June 2017 are based on 294 interviews. Knowing that La Strada (Brussels Homeless Support Center) has estimated that 707 people are sleeping in the street in 2016, it is necessary and important to meet people who have not been interviewed in order to capture the most realistic image possible of the homeless Brussels public. The collection of reliable data on this public is a job that requires continuous realization.
On the other hand, while the first Face-to-Face for Housing has benefited from the collection of reliable data, it has also increased awareness of homelessness and engaged many volunteers in the 400Toits campaign. Today, it is crucial to maintain community engagement to develop new solutions and opportunities to end homelessness.
For these two main reasons, the 400Toits campaign organizes the second Face-to-face for a housing from 25 to 29 September 2018. This Face-to-face will follow the same pattern as the June 2017 edition: during three evenings and one morning, volunteers and field workers will travel the streets of Brussels to meet people living in the street.
Waste and unoccupied land are inherent in the perpetual transformation of cities and represent opportunities for housing creation. These fields can be of variable dimensions: old industrial sites, gardens and hollow teeth too small to be at the moment recoverable by a real estate operation. Nevertheless, the classic times of real estate production are long faced with the immediate needs of people in high vulnerability.
The 400Toits campaign has therefore decided to develop a “modular and mobile housing” (habitat modulaire et mobile) component in order to valorize undeveloped land during the initial phases. The modular housing of 400Toits is a project of social inclusion and urban renewal. Through rehousing accompanied by homeless people, member associations of 400Toits want to contribute significantly to the end of homelessness in Brussels.
At the same time, high-quality modular mobile homes make it possible to use temporarily available spaces to create housing and to revitalize, while awaiting their development, areas that otherwise represent dead spaces, sources of insecurity and feeling of abandonment. Two associations of 400Toits are particularly involved in this action: Street nurses and Habitat & Humanisme.