In an open letter, founder and co-director of Doucheflux Laurent d’Ursel denounces the insecurity around the South Station. He talks about an “explosive cocktail of increasing poverty and a systematic lack of solutions.” “The government has enough resources, but there is a lack of political will.”
At the beginning of this month, Doucheflux was forced to close the doors of the day center near South Station. The non-profit organization has been offering help to people in the most precarious situation for years, but has been increasingly confronted with violence in recent months. “We used to have to deal with violence on average three times a month, but in the last 6 to 12 months that has worsened,” d’Ursel said at the time. “If knives are pulled and bottles are broken to attack employees, this will be another job that is no longer ours.”
In an open letter, d’Ursel addresses today the Brussels government, federal minister for Poverty Reduction Karine Lalieux (PS) and the municipalities of Anderlecht, Sint-Gillis and Brussels-City. He wants the various competent authorities to sit down to recognize a crisis situation. “This includes measures that should improve the working conditions of our teams in the field and that offer prospects to the most precarious people in the region,” says d’Ursel. “Unless politicians think they are already doing enough.”
According to the founder of Doucheflux, the fact that the neighborhood around the South Station is experiencing a flare-up of violence has to do with increasing poverty and a systematic lack of solutions. He describes that combination as an “explosive cocktail.” “When we encounter violence, we respond with security measures, but that is not enough for anyone. We, low-threshold front-line organizations, see a connection between the violence our teams suffer and the lack of solutions they can propose.”
“If one has to register on an endless list for social housing, if one has to wait months for a bed in a psychiatric hospital and rehab centers to be full, if wandering young people turn their backs on a society that offers them no prospects, the number of homeless and empty buildings rise at the same time, then nothing is predictable or normal, except the discouragement and anger,” writes d’Ursel. “Our teams are often forced to answer: ‘Sorry, good luck and good luck.’ They operate in a veritable minefield.”
According to d’Ursel, specific crisis budgets are needed for this complex problem. He refers to an “unprecedent crisis” when thousands of Ukrainian refugees came to Belgium for protection and shelter. “Back then there was shelter, work was done on access to work and housing. If you want it, you can,” says d’Ursel. “We find that the government has enough resources, but there is a lack of political will.”
A total of eleven aid organizations have co-signed the open letter, including AMO Rythme, L’Ilot and Infirmiers de rue.
Tags: Founder Doucheflux denounces insecurity Zuidstation Lack political