Brussels: Not only a crisis of public health, this risks becoming a housing crisis too

In these times that are dominated by the Coronavirus, public health is in the spotlight. This easily makes us forget that currently the simplest tasks of our daily lives become complicated, writes Brussels-based grassroots initiative "United for Housing".


If you recently moved to a new apartment and haven’t had the chance to get an internet provider then you might be stuck with pen and paper. Good luck with distance working. The lock-down makes getting enough sunlight and fresh air an issue and might lead to serious Vitamin D deficiencies. But even the most essential needs are currently being threatened: a roof over your head.


'Under Coronavirus, even the most essential needs are currently being threatened: a roof over your head'

Even though we do not really know what will happen in the time that lies ahead of us, governmental measures have already had an impact on many of our lives. Bars are being shut, restaurants are closing, all shops apart from supermarkets, pharmacies and those providing essential services are being shut down.


This also means that many people lost or will lose their jobs, albeit temporarily. Especially employees without a fixed contract will be hit hard by these measures - people working in retail, the cultural sector and gastronomy, self-employed shop owners, students working on hourly wages, and actually anybody who doesn’t have the privilege to work from home (with a working internet connection) and still receives a decent wage will suffer financially.



But all of us renting an apartment are still asked to pay rent as usual. As you will all realize, this does not add up. Paying rent without having an income will turn the global health crisis into a crisis that will affect our personal finances even more than it is doing already.


'Paying rent without having an income will turn the global health crisis into a crisis that will affect our personal finances even more than it is doing already'

Therefore, a group of citizens in Brussels has formed to support tenants in need. United for Housing is a grassroots initiative that wants to help tenants renegotiate rents with their landlords in these exceptional times.


United for Housing just launched a petition to create visibility for this issue and wants to make landlords share the economic burden. More actions will follow in the days to come (e.g. letter templates to be sent to the landlord asking for a rent reduction).


By joining the group on Facebook and signing this petition, either as a tenant or a landlord, you are making this problem more visible and are supporting tenants worldwide. Please share with friends, family and groups that could be interested.


This story was shared by "United for Housing: overcoming the crisis together", a Brussels-based grassroots initiative started by a group of students of Urban Studies.

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