The N-VA is requesting mandatory registration with Actiris of Brussels social tenants who are fit for work

2 March 2023
Mathias Vanden Borre

Figures requested by Brussels MP Mathias Vanden Borre show that barely 35 lease agreements were terminated by Brussels social housing companies in 2022 due to the social tenant’s income being too high. That is out of a total of 36,000 occupied dwellings. “Social housing appears to be part of the poverty trap in Brussels. There is no mandatory registration with Actiris for social tenants in Brussels. The N-VA wants to tackle that.”

We can conclude from the figures that tens of thousands of families are not managing to earn an income large enough to move on to the regular housing market, even after almost ten years of guidance and support. “Social housing should be a springboard to a stable income and better future opportunities and therefore a temporary solution for families in need. In Brussels, people sometimes continue to live in social housing their entire lives, without any economic progress. This is a major social cost and hinders opportunities for people who are in acute need of social housing. Moreover, I question the actual control and enforcement of the maximum income limits,” Vanden Borre says.

Social housing is a social springboard

Previous figures on the total outflow for the 16 Brussels housing companies over the past three years also show that the outflow of social tenants is minimal. “It is obvious to the N-VA that social housing is used as a social springboard in the context of an activating and integrating policy. Surely the intention should be that families find stable jobs and quality homes as soon as possible? Why does this not work in Brussels with its sky-high unemployment rates?” wonders Vanden Borre.

No obligation whatsoever in Brussels

In Flanders, every social tenant up to the age of 64 who is fit for work must register with the VDAB The Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding (VDAB, Flemish Public Employment and Professional Training Service) is a Flemish public service that coordinates supply and demand in the employment market, with its main task consisting of serving as an intermediary for job seekers and providing them with support in getting back to work. Since the State reform in 1989, job placement has been a competence of the Regions and job training a competence of the Communities. The VDAB’s counterpart in Wallonia is Forem, and Actiris in Brussels. VDAB (Flemish Employment and Training Service). This is also checked regularly. In case of refusal, administrative fines may be imposed. “In view of the outflow figures quoted, it is all the more incomprehensible that there is no obligation whatsoever in Brussels for social tenants who are fit for work to register with Actiris – the Brussels counterpart of the VDAB. I will submit an ordinance to include such mandatory registration in the Housing Code,” Vanden Borre concludes.

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