More homeless people move from Brussels to Antwerp
The services of the Antwerp Centre for General Welfare Work (CAW) have recently seen an increase in the number of homeless people, both on the streets and in shelters, VRT NWS reports.
"Last summer, more people were camping in parks and places outside the city," says Marc Huygen, team leader of the Antwerp CAW outreach team. "Even after the summer, we see more homeless people. Since the increased surveillance in Brussels, they are coming to Antwerp."
To help as many people as possible, the Antwerp night shelter provides extra "freeze beds". "We always have extra beds available," says Katinka Theuns of CAW. "So far, we've accommodated everyone with these freeze beds."
"Our teams go out every morning and evening"
The outreach team also takes to the streets to help people experiencing homelessness. "Our teams go out every morning and evening," says Huygen. "In the winter, we increase our evening visits to about three times a week. We also make morning visits between 6.00 and 9.00 at least twice a week. We bring coffee and sandwiches, sometimes soup."
The agency is pushing for change and sees two solutions, including more social housing. "Much more preventative work should be done, and something needs to change in the housing market," Huygen says.
"At the moment, homeless people are staying homeless for longer because they can't find accommodation, and new homeless people are emerging. So the numbers are still rising."
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