Expatica news

Asylum crisis: hundreds of extra beds needed

30 October 2008

The Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Fedasil) is asking the Social Integration Minister, Marie Arena (Francophone socialist), to give it the means to be able to do its job and provide accommodation for asylum seekers. At present there is a big shortage of places in reception centres and some asylum seekers have to spend the night sleeping rough.

On Wednesday 200 Fedasil employees demonstrated outside Ms Arena’s office.

Every morning scores of asylum seekers queue outside the Immigration Department in Brussels in the hope of finding accommodation for the night.

Fedasil operates 18 centres with 3,700 places but they are full to overflowing.

Additional emergency places have been created in places such as the Klein Kasteeltje centre in Brussels.

Geert Knockaert explains that this hall has been filled with camp beds and bunk beds because people were sleeping out on the streets.

On Monday there were 180 new applications, but they only had 14 free beds. This is why they asked centres across the country to create extra places.

With winter around the corner centres for the homeless are under pressure from asylum seekers as is the case in the Marollen neighbourhood in Brussels.

Gilberte Eeckhout explained that her dormitory has 48 places but every day there’s a queue of a hundred people outside.