Begging in the Brussels-Capital Region

In this project we explore the perspectives and experiences of people who beg, of social workers and of other stakeholders such as shopkeepers, police or passers-by. We do so because the social, policy-related and economic importance of begging contrast with the lack of knowledge about and, above all, of a shared vision of begging. We follow a number of people who beg, listen to their stories and talk to shopkeepers and neighbourhood committees.

PWO (practice-oriented scientific research)
Research project

Begging in the Brussels Capital Region: a reality from various perspectives

This research project studies begging in Brussels from different perspectives in order to co-create evidence-based and experience-based policy and practice. While ongoing research at KU Leuven quantifies some aspects of begging, our research offers a complementary multi-method approach. Despite the clear presence of begging in Brussels and the expertise in the field, there is little scientific research on recent evolutions and the actual situation of people and families who beg in the Brussels Capital Region. The social, policy-related and economic importance of begging contrast with the lack of knowledge and especially of a shared vision of begging.

In this study we map out the profiles of people who beg, by means of participant observation, analysis of registration data, interviews and Photovoice. We pay attention to the living environment of people who beg and look for situations that may cause friction with other users of public space and/or with the government. We focus on longitudinal follow-up of people who beg. In addition, we investigate the impact of begging on other possible stakeholders, such as shopkeepers, local residents, police, local government or passers-by. The voices of the various parties involved are structurally represented via learning networks. In this way we lay the foundations for a process of joint vision development that also leads to a stronger social work practice embedded in the reality of Brussels.

Meet the researchers

Our partners

  • Stef Adriaenssens, KU Leuven
  • Diogenes vzw
  • Foyer vzw, Dienst Roma & Woonwagenbewoners
  • Kenniscentrum Kinderrechten vzw (KeKi)

Want to know more about this project?

Would you like to share an experience or find out more?