Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:
all Brussels regional authorities are
supporting the non-profit sector
The COVID-19 epidemic is having a very significant social and economic impact on the non-profit sector, whose activities are impacted by both the events and the indispensable measures taken by the National Security Council.
Non-profit associations and services are suffering the full impact of the crisis whether they are in the healthcare, social, education and training, culture, sports or social cohesion sectors. It is therefore essential to support them, so as to limit the impact of the crisis on their activities and personnel.
Moreover, since many of these associations and services are on the front line in the battle against coronavirus and are responsible for meeting the primary needs of a large number of citizens, it is essential to limit the negative effects on all their beneficiaries. It is these beneficiaries who are often the most vulnerable and most exposed to health risks. Hence the need to provide these organisations and services with the means to reorganise their missions and activities (for example, by purchasing protective equipment, setting up new communication channels between teams or reorganising staff).
For this reason, the Brussels-Capital Region government, the college of the Common Community Commission (COCOM), the college of the French Community Commission (COCOF) and the college of the Flemish Community Commission (CCF) have decided to take several measures, including the creation of a special “COVID-19” fund of 29 million euros.
These measures are as follows:
- Preservation of structural subsidies for all sectors
- For subsidised sectors which will be faced with a reduction or possible cessation of activities for various reasons (forced closure, incomplete staff, etc.), it is proposed to guarantee the planned structural subsidies;
- Derogation measures for unforeseen expenditure directly linked to the crisis, as well as for the simplification of certain administrative procedures, will be proposed.
- Preservation of discretionary subsidies for all sectors in COCOF
- Preservation of discretionary subsidies for events, projects and/or activities which should have taken place in the period from 1 March to 30 April 2020 and which have been postponed, with the possibility of applying for a complementary grant in the event of additional costs related to the postponement;
- Authorisation to use the subsidies to settle invoices already committed for events, projects or activities which have been cancelled;
- In parallel and in order to make life easier for organisations, more flexible procedures for dealing with authorities will be introduced (submission of supporting documents, inspection procedures, etc.).
- Creation of a special “COVID-19” fund of 29 million euros
The Brussels regional government has decided to provide support for all non-profit enterprises, particularly those services and operators in the front line of this crisis. As we know, the social-action and healthcare sectors are especially affected by the current crisis since they have to adapt and carry on with their work in difficult and constantly-changing conditions. And yet they are an essential link in the fight against COVID-19.
3.1. Home help sector (2.322 million euros for 3 months)
The home help sector is on the front line in this crisis. All workers in this sector are in daily contact with the people most susceptible to coronavirus. For this reason, specific support measures are planned including the purchase of additional equipment, reorganisation of home rounds, particularly in a situation of staff shortages, and the introduction of new electronic communication systems.
3.2. Rest homes and nursing homes sector (3.95 million euros for 3 months)
Nursing homes are also in the heart of the crisis, providing supervision and care for the elderly, while applying extremely strict health and organisational measures. This sector is also facing very significant additional costs related to the crisis. Other than the purchase of additional equipment, these costs include:
- Changes in the layout of premises due to protective measures and confinement of Covid+ residents;
- Additional payroll costs, increased working hours of part-time staff and the use of temporary personnel.
3.3. Social action sector (4.97 million euros for 3 months)
For migrants in transit
- Increase of capacity to 120 hotel places with the provision of two meals per day;
- Increase of capacity at Porte d’Ulysse (up to 325 persons) which is from now on organised day and night with food distribution on-site.
For the homeless
Strengthening of existing facilities:
- Provision of protective products and materials to all operators;
- Organisation of a centralised site for showers and toilet facilities;
- Strengthening of Bruss’help to facilitate coordination of all Brussels operators.
Strengthening of day centres (9 operators)
- Increased support for reception centres (in particular, transformation from 12h/24 to 24h/24);
- Strengthening of mobile activities and street work (4 operators);
- Increased support for New Samusocial and emergency reception centres (Centre Ariane and Pierre d’Angle) to assure basic capacity.
Creation of crisis measures
- Work with the 19 communes to create 400 additional places in night centres (in particular to offset the reduced capacity of certain centres in view of arrangements for separating suspected/contaminated persons);
- Create a capacity of more than 300 places for homeless persons diagnosed with COVID-19;
- Set up a mobile intervention service (including medical personnel, active day and evening) to provide safe transport to hospital or to reception centres described above. A mobile team dedicated to people who are on the street and far from help centres has also been organised.
Violence against women
- Make available 50 hotel rooms to be used if the reception centre network is saturated or as a refuge for female victims of violence, with or without children, with adequate psycho-social support.
3.4. Help for disabled persons (2.866 million euros)
Disability enterprise sector (1.6 million euros)
- Additional help to compensate disability enterprises for loss of revenue;
- Temporary unemployment due to force majeure (COVID-19) for blue- and white-collar workers;
- Administrative measures including:
o preserving the subsidy regardless of the number of disabled workers in employment;
o Increasing the daily subsidy for unemployment benefit (from €2 to €4) and allowing the unemployment benefit cap per worker to be exceeded;
o extending hours assimilated to periods of non-activity for workers who are not eligible for unemployment due to
- preservation of the subsidy regardless of the number of disabled persons supported or the number of hours worked;
- extension of hours assimilated to periods of non-activity for workers who are not eligible for unemployment due to force majeure.
Welfare and care centres (day centres, accommodation centres for disabled persons and day centres for school children) (1.246 million euros)
- The suspension in 2020 of employer taxes to assist in the payment of additional costs related particularly to work clothes, irregular working hours, etc.;
- Support for the cost of irregular working hours for workers available to welfare centres (day centres and day centres for school children);
- Allow subsidies related to centres setting up individual transport (mainly) for paramedical care.
Trainees in a professional apprenticeship agreement (20,000 euros)
- Continued support of the PHARE service (reimbursement of the allowance + direct contribution to the hourly fee) for trainees throughout the period of the crisis.
26 March 2020