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Housing for displaced persons from Ukraine

Have you recently arrived in Belgium and are searching for accommodation? It is crucial to follow certain recommendations to avoid any unpleasant surprises or possible abuse.

The difference between crisis accommodation and long-term accommodation

In Belgium, housing assistance for people arriving from Ukraine is provided in two phases: crisis reception followed by a second phase of long-term accommodation.

Crisis reception: after being registered at the registration centre in Brussels, Fedasil will redirect you to temporary accommodation. You will be housed either in collective housing (where several families share the premises) or with host families, Belgian citizens who, to show their solidarity, have made a home or a room available.

Long-term accommodation: In the long term, accommodation with a host family is often not the best solution. As a result, the regional services in Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders, as well as cities and municipalities, make arrangements in order to offer long-term accommodation to people who need it. These are accommodation sites which are currently unoccupied, office buildings that can be repurposed, other individual or collective housing units, and even alternative solutions (for example, the Flemish Region has created two prefabricated villages).

How to find long-term accommodation?

Before you start your search, go to the Heysel registration centre in Brussels. This will allow you to obtain temporary protected status, which will make it easier for you to find a job and accommodation. When you come, we will give you more information on the steps to take.

Once you have been registered, you can of course search for your own accommodation on the Belgian rental market. Obviously, this is not always easy, especially on account of the language barrier. That's why the Belgian authorities have put resources in place to support you in your search for accommodation.

In Belgium, long-term accommodation is a competence of the three regions. The exact procedure may be slightly different, but in general, whether you are in Wallonia, Flanders or Brussels, the preferred point of contact for finding long-term accommodation, in addition to the Region, is the municipal coordinator in each municipality.

If you are searching for accommodation in the Walloon Region:

The Walloon Region has identified the available public, associative or private collective accommodation. These may be properties owned by religious groups, accommodation belonging to the provinces, cities and municipalities, holiday and leisure centres, Adeps centres, buildings belonging to the Belgian Buildings Agency and the Public Service of Wallonia, military buildings, buildings housing asylum seekers, etc. 

An IT platform for finding accommodation in these facilities is being developed and will be online in the autumn. In the meantime, accommodation can be offered by individuals on the Ukraine Solidarity Platform. You can also fill out a housing application form if you do not find any offers on the platform.

You can also contact a municipal coordinator who will be able to assist you in your search. 
For more information on the assistance available in Wallonia, go to: https://www.wallonie.be/fr/ukraine/je-suis-un-refugie-ukrainien

If you are searching for accommodation in Flanders:

The municipalities in Flanders are looking for as many private accommodation sites as possible, where people fleeing from Ukraine can stay as long as they have 'temporary protection'. This may be accommodation made available by private individuals, organisations or the municipality itself. There are also places in hotels, guesthouses, holiday residences and service apartments. Accommodation places can be individual (per family) or collective (several families in the same building, but each with their own area).

Have you stayed temporarily with family, friends or acquaintances, or at another reception place where you can no longer stay? The municipal coordinator will then try to find you a more long-term place to live. Contact your municipality in this regard. If the municipality itself has no more places available, the coordinator will contact other municipalities.

Please note: do not leave your temporary reception place without knowing where you will stay after that. First go to the municipality.

If longer-term accommodation is found for you, you will have to pay rent or a small fee, depending on your income. The municipality or the owner of the room or house where you will live will draw up a contract with you in this regard, which will also be available in your own language.

Useful to know: there are special rental contracts for people with 'temporary protection' status. The contracts are valid for at least 3 months and can be renewed for up to 3 months. Do you want to leave sooner? Then you can terminate the rental agreement without notice and without having to pay compensation.

More information on living in Flanders can be found at https://www.vlaanderen.be/vlaanderen-helpt-oekraine/meertalige-communicatie.

You are searching for accommodation in Brussels:

Since March of this year, the Brussels-Capital Region has been housing people from Ukraine. The people of Brussels came out to show their to support for this tradition of hospitality which has built up over recent years. Gradually, the Municipalities and the Region have supported this hospitality and are proposing solutions.

If you cannot find accommodation, you can contact the Municipality where you wish to live, the coordinator or the Public Centre for Social Welfare (PCSW) will be able to support you in your search.

The Region has itself made more than 3,600 accommodation places available thanks to a partnership with the real estate sector and with hotels. Each municipality (https://www.helpukraine.brussels/en#autorites-locales) has a contact person for its citizens that can house people, and is looking for new accommodation solutions. It will organise the meeting between the citizen that can provide accommodation and the person seeking accommodation.

As is the case in the other Regions, the regional authorities support Belgian citizens who help to accommodate people from Ukraine. Find more information on this subject at https://www.helpukraine.brussels/fr/news/cadre-loccupation-des-

All the information concerning the reception of Ukrainian refugees can be found on the website: https://www.helpukraine.brussels/en#introduction 

Are you looking for accommodation yourself? What do you need to look out for?

Even though the process of renting accommodation is generally honest and fair in Belgium, it can happen that certain malicious individuals take advantage of those in a vulnerable situation to deceive them, defraud them, or abuse them. The following information is important to bear in mind when looking for accommodation.

The criteria for long-term accommodation

Unacceptable behaviour

A landlord who rents out accommodation is not the only party who has rights. Although abuse is rare, the following behaviour is unacceptable and must be reported to the police and/or the municipal coordinator:

  • Administrative: confiscating your identity papers or threatening to withhold them or to send you back to your country.
  • Financial: leaving tenants without heat, water or electricity
  • Verbal: being insulting and threatening
  • Physical: hitting, shoving
  • Sexual: imposing or coercing sexual acts
  • Psychological: threatening, locking up, preventing study and work, humiliating and belittling
  • Being forced to work

Useful link: I am being exploited - Ukraine (info-ukraine.be)

What can I do if I believe I am being taken advantage of by my host/landlord?

  • If the host/landlord is taking advantage of you, the occupant is advised to contact the municipal coordinator.
  • You also have the right to call the emergency services in a life-threatening emergency (112) and to contact the police (101) in case of danger, or to file a complaint.
  • Request and retain evidence of abuse: medical certificates, police reports, witness statements, photos, emails, text messages, recordings, etc.

Useful contacts