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‘400 Toits’ (400 Roofs) campaign to tackle the homeless in Brussels



Most of the discussion surrounding real estate involves developers, landlords, office buildings, shopping centres, apartment developments… Yesterday, however, an initiative has been inaugurated in Brussels which is centred around people and constructions right at the other end of the spectrum.

The ‘400 Toits’ (400 Roofs) campaign is aiming to provide, in association with citydev.brussels, modular and movable housing for 400 of the city’s homeless by the end of 2020. The basic idea is to locate these small wooden units of around 26 m² on disused sites which are awaiting their new vocation. The presentation of the concept took place at the BridgeCity site owned by citydev and located in Schaerbeek between the Town Hall and Docks Bruxsel. This site is set to be transformed into a 4,00 m² business centre and will not accommodate a ‘400 Toits’ placement.

The modules are of two types – Moving Nest and Wald Cube – with a third (At Home) to follow. They are able to be placed on the site in one day, having been delivered fully prefabricated from the factory by truck. They include a shower room and kitchenette, and can be connected to the utilities network.

Once a suitable site has been identified (to be vacant for a minimum of 24 months), the not-for-profit association gets in touch with the owners and a partner association which will allocate the units to homeless people. The advantage of units of this type is also that at the end of the period of occupancy of the site, they can be removed and relocated very quickly as well.

On the social front, the initiative is intended not just to house the homeless temporarily, but to help them back into the mainstream of society. This is also a way of making use of sites which would otherwise remain unnecessarily vacant. For the Brussels Region Government, Minister Céline Fremault said that this forms part of a wider initiative in terms of the homeless and of housing in general.
Tim Harrup
24-08-2018


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