For Team Inclusion: event spotted ("Accueil des personnes en exil – présentation et témoignage")

Spotted this. Can’t go.
Accueil des personnes en exil – présentation et témoignages | Facebook

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Thanks @Celine_D!

For those who don’t have Facebook: it’s on 6 July at 6 pm in Louvain-la-Neuve. More information can be found on the official event’s page on the website of Habitat & Participation.

@Sophie_Beese, @Mas or @Laurianne (as part of Team Inclusion): no pressure of course, but if any of you would be able to go, could you please let us know and possibly post a short report?

Hello everyone, I’ll be going (unless there’s an emergency at work) and will post a short report here :slight_smile:

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Hello everyone, so here is my (sorry, not so short) report on yesterday’s event (and a partial summary of the report): Overall, the atmosphere was very uplifting with many different and passionate people attending (working for asbl in the field of social integration, people from co-housings who are hosting/have hosted people in exile). During those three hours, first, the report on housing people in exile in shared housings was presented, then 5 people reported on their personal experience and at the end there were little groups for discussing different topics (good for “networking” if you know what you’re looking for and whom to turn to!)

The report itself is generally focusing on short to (I would call it) medium term accommodation (obviously depending on the available space) with a finite duration. The short-term stays were usually organised through the Plateforme Citoyenne before COVID but now they have found more permanent solutions and are less relying on private hosts. Other organisations that were supportive in finding people and accompanying the process were Caritas, CPAS, SAMU social, SOS enfant, les ILA, Croix-Rouge, the Commune and groups fighting for the right of undocumented migrants (another distinction that was raised was between people with a legal status in Belgium and those without).

Co-Housings in Brussels with inclusive units (albeit limited in time):

  • Longue vue a Stockel (but only sporadically and generally for a few nights/weeks)
  • Fraternites du Bon Pasteur – their project « Transhumances » covers 3 apartments that can be occupied for up to 18 month. They work with an AIS (agence immobilière sociale) that takes care of the financial aspects (they’ve had good experiences with keeping the integration and the money separate). They also rent out meeting rooms :blush:
  • (There is a project in Chastre with young people: D'une rive à l'autre)

Interesting points raised (both during the event and in the report):

  • Some groups had a “personne referente” or a small team within the group (I guess that would be our team).
  • In some groups, only one person or a few people where really carrying the project and usually dropped it because of exhaustion/frustration after a while – hence the importance of having everyone’s support on this!
  • Some groups met the people moving in beforehand and some even had a trial period.
  • The Fraternities specifically mentioned that they had to put limits on whom to house (examples include psychological disorders and addiction) to respect their own capacities. It is important to talk about everyone’s hesitations, doubts etc. and to clearly define limits beforehand.
  • The financial aspect certainly comes later (and is more critical for sans papiers etc.) but options mentioned were covering of the costs by the “other” inhabitants, a contribution by everyone based on income/goodwill or a small rent to cover charges.
  • Power imbalance between those hosting and those hosted (something to consider at a later stage). Hopeful point: The vulnerability on the side of the “guest” decreases the longer they can stay, become integrated and don’t have to make a “good impression” to not be kicked out.
  • We need a legal status in order to be a valid party when negotiating with other actors, claim subsidies etc. (options mentioned were asbl, fondation and association de fait).
  • The Plateforme citoyenne has a legal service (very good but apparently overwhelmed).
  • General topic: All the actors in this domain are overwhelmed – especially the big players (Caritas, CPAS etc.) so it might be worth turning to smaller associations (but then the question is how to find them, considering that because of the administrative structure in Belgium, they are not well connected and everyone is very specialised).

Whom to turn to:

Conviviale (in Forest) was mentioned as an asbl that helps with integrating refugees.

The Plateforme citoyenne can help with integrating refugees in co-housings (or at least is one of the best connected actors in Bxl and can certainly give pointers).

Habitat et Participation (the organisers of the event) apparently also accompany individual projects and they have a team in Brussels – seems like a really good starting point!

Found this website (when researching all the many French abbreviations) about “Projets de cohésion sociale): https://www.febul.be/notre-reseau/pcs/

To take it further

The CRIBW (Centre Régional d’Intégration du Brabant wallon) published a brochure (Bienvenue en BW : https://www.cribw.be/bienvenue-en-brabant-wallon/) which might point to some actors that could also be of use in Brussels.

Habitat et Participation is organising three more events around the topic of “L’acceuil dans l’habitat”: 5.9, 19.9 and 3.10 (I’ll bring the flyer to the next meeting).

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Thanks a lot!