“Hi, I am calling you concerning an apartment up for rent. Is it still available?” At first glance, this is a simple and innocuous question unless you are a refugee and your future depends on it.
Difficult Access to Housing
“In two hours, I call around twenty different proprietors but visits are rare. I explain to proprietors that I am calling on behalf of a recognized refugee under the assistance of the CPAS. Suddenly, the tone changes. Sometimes positively, and other times negatively,” says Nora who is a former beneficiary of the Housing-cafés; moreover, Nora had to go into exile and leave everything behind in order to rebuild herself in Belgium.
The search for housing is even more difficult with the language barrier. “I already called proprietors, but my French makes the conversation difficult, even impossible. We are stuck. We cannot understand each other. Fortunately, there are Caritas’ Housing-cafés,” says Ramzy, a 17-year-old boy from Afghanistan who arrived in Belgium alone a couple of months ago.
Housing what ?
Housing-café teams – composed of integration coaches and volunteers – support recognized refugees in their search for housing. In addition, the team helps with the first contact with the owner by phone until installation and first steps such as registration with the commune, CPAs, school…
A Housing-café is also a place for collective awareness and lessons: what are the rights and duties of a tenant? How to best maintain their housing?
Do you want to become a partner proprietor ?
Are you a proprietor? Is your property available? Do you know proprietors? Do you want to become a partner proprietor? Caritas International is searching for proprietors ready to rent their property to recognized refugees. Get into contact with us through email email@example.com or by telephone at +32 2 609 06 54.
Not convinced yet? Discover Nabil and Fadia’s story. After fleeing Homs, they are now established in Beauraing in the apartment of Catherine and her husband. Also, read the three questions for Catherine, a partner proprietor.
Do you want to become a volunteer ?
Housing-cafés are a project filled with challenges with concrete and various activities. This project facilitates encounters between people of different cultures, the discovery of new realities, and the sharing of a societal project with a motivated and friendly team.
Join the Caritas volunteer team and participate – yes you too – in the integration of refugees in Belgium. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read Andre’s interview, a volunteer at the Housing-café.
Are you a recognized refugee looking for housing ?
Housing-cafés are organized in Liège, Antwerp, and Ghent. To participate, registration by telephone or email is mandatory.
To register yourself or a recognized refugee, you must contact us by email or telephone.