Brussels: a hundred residents mobilise to avoid eviction

Press release 7 May 2021. Brussels city – a hundred residents are mobilising to avoid eviction: the building has been empty since 2017 and belongs to Belgium’s second largest fortune.

The building was squatted by the “Solidarity Requisition Campaign” in March. Following the occupation, negotiations were started in order to reach an agreement and sign a temporary occupation agreement with the owner, Viscountess Caroline de Spoelberch. Despite encouraging beginnings, the latter is now backing down and has obtained an eviction order. The residents are mobilising to avoid being thrown out on the street in the midst of a social and health crisis.

A hundred or so people have been living for over a month in the gigantic building , which overlooks both Rue de Livourne and Avenue Louise. Purchased in 2018 for 18 million euros by Caroline de Spoelberch, it has remained unoccupied since then. For this reason, the “Solidarity Requisitioning Campaign” took over the building at the end of March and several groups of homeless or badly housed people, including the Voice of the Homeless BXL and the Voice of the Homeless Family, quickly moved in. [Read More]

Brussels: the municipality chooses repression and lies rather than solidarity

Press release – Solidarity Requisitioning Campaign

On Friday 26th February we wanted to squat the old Pacheco Hospice in the city centre. Our action clearly did not please the municipal politicians – Khalid Zian, president of the CPAS (Centres Publics d’Action Sociale) and Philippe Close, mayor of the City of Brussels – who opted for violent repression rather than negotiation. In the evening, we were bluntly kicked out by the police. 38 people were detained for several hours and will be fined. People were kicked in the head and verbally abused. We wonder where such a strong reaction against a solidarity action that has been rather well received in other municipalities and by the region in recent weeks comes from. Why does the city of Brussels not want to allow the use of a CPAS building that has been empty for 4 years to house people in difficulty?

The CPAS justifies the eviction by the fact that a temporary occupation is currently being considered and that a public call for tenders will soon be launched. Khalid Zian, the president of the CPAS, goes so far as to falsely assert that an occupation for accommodation would have been possible “on condition that it was properly supervised and agreed upon beforehand”. However, the municipal authorities have been approached several times about this building (by the Voice of the Undocumented – la Voix des Sans Papiers – already 2 years ago, by the Region this winter for emergency accommodation) and have each time refused to make the building available. [Read More]

Brussels: new occupation of empty building

As of Friday, January 15, 6,936 square meters formerly used by Opel – located at 552 chaussée de Gand in Molenbeek – are occupied to rehouse some of the 200 people about to be evicted from their homes in Jette. The opening of this new squat in Molenbeek follows the opening of the Hospitalière, a former clinic in Saint-Gilles that has become home to 80 people since December 18. This action announces the launch of a campaign of “solidarity occupations”.

As collectives and associations of people with and without papers, actors of the right to housing, inhabitants of Brussels, we are organizing ourselves once again with our means to enforce the right to housing and to demand the regularization of undocumented migrants.

We will continue to open and occupy empty buildings as long as the public authorities do not provide sufficient structural responses to the social and health crisis. By launching this campaign, we affirm that we are determined to organize ourselves in the face of the absurdity of thousands of empty buildings while hundreds of people sleep outside in our city. The opening of about ten squats has made it possible to house several hundred people during the spring 2020 confinement. Today, we want to make this solidarity and self-organized response visible, while refuting the idea that this is a structural and sufficient solution. It is up to the public authorities to make it a priority. [Read More]