On the street from one day to the next

Tuesday 6 October 2020

The year 2020 will leave its mark on all of us. More or less deeply marked. For some, the consequences of the crisis will leave deep scars. The life stories and requests received through the Caritas Corona-Helpline set up in the wake of the health crisis have shown that people who thought they were safe could find themselves on the street overnight, with no idea where they would be able to sleep the next night.

This is the case for example of Francesco, his wife and their 3 small children. They had just arrived in Luxembourg when the crisis began. Francesco had come to Luxembourg on the advice of a friend to find work. The crisis decided otherwise. Very quickly, the family's savings skyrocketed, between the rent for their flat, utilities, food purchases and everything else. Problems with the landlord and a lack of knowledge of housing legislation ended up putting Francesco and his family on the streets. "I would never have imagined that six months ago. I came to Luxembourg to succeed, to get my family out of need, and I find myself without a job and without even a place to sleep for my wife and children," he told us when he pushed our door.

Maria also suddenly found herself without a home. That was already last year. She was living with her partner and their 2-year-old daughter. She was a cleaning lady on a fixed-term contract, but her contract was not renewed. Her relationship with her companion, who was in good shape, suddenly deteriorated. Victim of repeated violence, Maria left her partner and took refuge in a hotel. She soon found herself without money to pay for her room. After a night spent on the street, she finally contacted Caritas Luxembourg asking for help for her and her daughter, and especially for a place to sleep the next night.

In both cases, as in all requests of this type received so far, Caritas Luxembourg was able to help the people concerned, and found them a roof over their heads, for one night, for several, and sometimes also on a long-term basis.

Helping a family find accommodation for one night costs on average 57 €.

People who find themselves on the street suddenly, without really understanding how or why their lives have been turned upside down in this way, and so quickly, there are more and more of them. These situations are not new, Caritas Luxembourg has been dealing with them for many years. But the crisis has also brought about the emergence of a new category of poor people: people who were getting by, sometimes well, sometimes with difficulty, but who still managed to make ends meet, and who have now fallen into poverty. Homelessness can thus now affect all categories of people. No one is safe from becoming homeless one day.

The issue of housing is not new, but in an unprecedented context, and in a country where the prices of houses and flats are constantly rising, finding a place to live has become a daily and crucial issue for many people. In terms of housing, in addition to its hostels for the homeless - whether emergency or long-term -, its night shelters and its supervised accommodation, Caritas Luxembourg also intervenes for all those people who find themselves without a roof over their heads from one day to the next, and who cannot be accommodated in one of the structures mentioned above.

The evaluation of Caritas Corona-Helpline and the experience of the teams on the ground are rich in lessons learned. If we don't want people and families to fall permanently into precariousness, measures need to be taken quickly! Please find all our proposals for action in the link below!

Read the position document