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Due to an increased risk of previously homeless people losing their temporary accommodation provided during COVID-19 lockdown, Brussels-based street outreach organisation Infirmiers de Rue is increasing its efforts to stop people returning to the streets.

Following its initial call for action in April, Infirmiers de Rue – who are part of the European End Street Homelessness Campaign – are now calling on individuals from across the world to #SolveHomelessnessNow by signing their petition.

The petition highlights three priority areas for urgent action.

1. All people experiencing street homelessness to be connected with safe accommodation: ensure those who are older, disabled, ill and chronically homeless are helped into permanent housing.

2. All those in temporary accommodations to be moved into permanent homes: nobody goes back to homelessness. We must rapidly identify and secure affordable housing options and provide any needed supportive services for those temporarily housed in hotels and motel rooms across the country.

3. Prevent a surge in homelessness: every indicator, from unemployment to the end of eviction suspensions, points to a surge in new homelessness. We must prevent this crisis now.

Dr. Pierre Ryckmans, Co-coordinateur & Responsable Médical at Infirmiers de Rue, said:

“This campaign is about healing our societies of the vulnerability that certain groups of people have clearly experienced during this crisis. It has become evident for everyone that we cannot leave this inequality in the very heart of our cities. This campaign is an opportunity for all people of the world to demand and appeal for a massive action to end homelessness, strengthen our solidarity for each other and establish stability and resilience in all of our societies.”

Celeste Sangster, Programme Officer for Homelessness at World Habitat, said:

“The COVID-19 crisis has brought the need to end homelessness into sharp focus and, in many cases, has shown that solutions – albeit temporary ones – can be found. In Brussels over 750 people are currently living in hotels, youth hostels and empty buildings. The demands above are the next steps which will provide much needed long-term solutions.”

Infirmiers de Rue launched an initial call for action in April, where they asked organisations from across the world to support three key asks.

1. Protection of the homeless public.
2. Proactive and systematic screening policy.
3. Keeping people in housing.

Over 150 organisations have already supported this call – Infirmiers Du Rue are now hoping that individuals from across the world will support their calls for urgent action by signing the petition.

Image: Marie Trossat

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