Belgian newspaper De Standaard has reported on how a lack of accommodation is causing further suffering to Ukrainian refugees arriving in the country.
Elena, 42, arrived at the centre for Ukrainian refugees at Brussels South Station last week, but was surprised to find that authorities told her that Belgium had no place for her to stay. They asked her whether she had Belgian friends or acquaintances she could stay with, and when she said she did not, they told her all places were full and she’d have to look for a place herself.
Elena’s situation is not uncommon to asylum seekers coming from other parts of the world, who often find they have to spend time on the streets of Belgian cities. However, since the beginning of the war, Ukrainians have been given a status of temporary protection and have been put on a different track to other refugees. In addition, Belgian families have also offered accommodation to Ukrainian refugees. However, nine months later, many Ukrainians are now sleeping in train stations because accommodation has reached its capacity.
Across Belgian regions, local authorities state that they simply do not have any more housing available for refugees. However authorities claim that they are “constantly working” to resolve the situation and that “new places are released every week”. However, the race is on as the charity Samusocial, which helps homeless people, warns that with winter coming, they now face having to support homeless Brussels residents, asylum seekers and now also Ukrainians looking for a warm night.
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