EP Kohl building will be used as a temporary residence for vulnerable women amid COVID-19 pandemic

“From next Wednesday, we will host 100 vulnerable women in the European Parliament premises in Brussels. In these difficult moments, the institutions have a duty to show solidarity and help those who face social exclusion in the cities where we work. I would like to express my deep thanks to the work done by Samusocial Brussels, who are committed every day to housing the homeless, and are collaborating with us on this initiative.” European Parliament (EP) president David Sassoli said yesterday during the visit to the EP Kohl building which will be used as a temporary residence for vulnerable women in the context of COVID-19.

Sassoli has been welcomed by Leena Maria LINNUS, Director-General for Infrastructure and Logistics. “Parliament’s authorities made a large building on Square de Meeûs available to the Brussels Capital Region to help the needy. The institution’s canteens are also making up to 1,000 meals a day to be distributed to the city’s most vulnerable, some of them in 100 chauffeur-driven cars normally used by MEPs”. She explained.

The beauty of the building on Square de Meeûs is that it gives us lots more space which, with the social distancing measures still in place, is very important right now. It makes it easier for the staff that can work, to keep safe distances. The spokesman said.

“The help being provided by the European Parliament is invaluable, a real Godsend. The task is far from easy. Prevention measures are implemented in the centres but the overcrowding in large reception structures sometimes complicates implementation of these measures and their compliance.” Samusocial spokesman added, stressing that another particular challenge for the charity was retaining staff who themselves may be sick from the virus. “The beauty of the building on Square de Meeûs is that it gives us lots more space which, with the social distancing measures still in place, is very important right now. It makes it easier for the staff that can work, to keep safe distances”. The spokesman concluded.

Women have been disproportionately harder-hit by the economic fallout of the coronavirus than men, which could further delay bridging the gender pay gap. While women are overrepresented in combatting the disease, they also suffer more harshly from the social-economic crisis to follow, contrary to previous economic emergencies. “The corona crisis is female,” Austrian MEP Evelyn Regner, who chairs the European parliament’s committee on women’s rights and gender equality, told the press, stressing that in hospitals, in nursing, at the supermarket sales counter, women fight in the front row against the disease.

“At the same time, however, closures and layoffs are affecting more female sectors like tourism and retail”. Regner affirmed. In the EU, 76 percent of healthcare workers are women, according to data compiled by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). It must be said that caring professions are also among the most underpaid jobs in the EU and, in other essential jobs, such as supermarket cashiers, women make up 82 percent of all cashiers in Europe.

The EP Kohl building which will be used as a temporary residence for women in a difficult situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic has showers and washing machines, a showers rooms, future bedrooms that will be ready on April, 28 according to Davy Mesotten, Head of Unit of Integrate Facilities, and a large restaurant. The initiative represents solidarity and closeness of the European institutions towards those who face social exclusion, at a time when European citizens are asking for a coordinated response from Europe in helping states manage the pandemic.

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