Jurgen Walschot

Never before did so many homeless people die on the streets of Brussels

Last year, at least 79 people died in Brussels who were either still living on the streets or lived on the streets for a prolonged period previously.  Never before was the death toll among the capital’s homeless as high as it was in 2022.

The figures come from the Street Deaths Collective that held a memorial service for those that perished on the streets of our capital at Brussel Town Hall on at 11am Wednesday. Later a commemoration ceremony was held at a tree planted in 2011 on the Albertinaplein, near to Brussels Central Railway Station, to honour those homeless people that have died on the capitals’ streets.  

The Collective was founded in 2004 and each year since 2006 it has staged a memorial to remember those that died while living on the streets of Brussels.

When a homeless person dies the Collective tries to find out the identity of the deceased and to inform their next of kin. It also tries to organise a dignified send off for the person that has died. In addition, it also works with local communities to if necessary and it is the wish of the next of kin, arrange for the repatriation of the deceased’s remains.

Cause of death

Of the 79 homeless people that died in Brussels last year a third died during the winter months. The collective's figures show that the number of repatriations to foreign countries is increasing. There were 6 more in 2022 than as the case in 2021.

The Collective also tries to get a picture of causes of death among homeless people, but this is often hindered by rules on medical confidentiality.  

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