Squatting for better housing

18th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

18 October 2006, "C'est vide, donc on occupe !" ('It's empty so we squat!) The mood is announced on posters and banners in front of 103 Boulevard de Waterloo. Socialist and President of the Belgian Senate Anne-Marie Lizin chose to visit this location on 'International day for the eradication of poverty' on 17 October).

18 October 2006

"C'est vide, donc on occupe !" ('It's empty so we squat!) The mood is announced on posters and banners in front of 103 Boulevard de Waterloo. Socialist and President of the Belgian Senate Anne-Marie Lizin chose to visit this location on 'International day for the eradication of poverty' on 17 October).

She met and talked to some of the 200 squatters who now reside in this vacant building reports Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique.

The building has become the head quarters of these unofficial residents in their fight for a better and more coherent housing market.

"This building has been empty for four years and at the same time even the most effective associations are not able to find housing even for people with work," said José Garcia, the secretary general of the renting syndicate, pointing out the absurdity of a system leaves buildings vacant when people are looking for housing. 

The squatters thanked the president of the Senate and the members of parliament who made the trip. José Garcia highlighted the symbolic importance of their presence, "your presence here gives us courage and enthusiasm," he said.

"We do not make laws," said the president of the Senate, "but we hope that the Prime Minister emphasises the importance of the housing and letting problems."

But the squatters except much more then a friendly visit, they want to see laws being put into action. Although the majority of the 200 squatters are squatting to raise awareness and change the housing situation, over 50 of them have no choice. Unemployed, living precariously or simply not finding housing, these people have no other home then this squat Garcia explained.

The squatters already announced that they will not vacate the premises until housing solutions are found for the families living here and some say the would like, in due time, to convert this building in emergency housing centre for people in need.

Ironically, reports La Libre Belgique, on the same day - international day for the eradication of poverty - Amsterdam renowned for its many tolerated squats, was busy evicting squatters from six squatted buildings.

[Copyright Expatica news 2006]

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