Huisvesting Oekraine

Shelter of Ukrainian Refugees

Shelter of Ukrainian refugees, how does that work? What is all involved? We want to bundle all the relevant information, tips, and advice on this webpage. You can always contact us for further questions and advice.

Shelter: join #plekvrij

You want to shelter Ukrainian refugees? Gave Veste advices to first sign up at your local government. They will assign you a family with your consultation.

Shelter: Is it also possible via Gave Veste?

Yes. We receive questions via our contacts in the Russian/ Ukrainian community for shelter. To give those people a place fast you can sign up via Gave Veste. But sign up via #plekvrij at your local government first and foremost. Registering for general sheltering (recommend!) goes via your local government. You can register for shelter for our contact via the form below.

Shelter: How does that work?                  

Down below you can read all the details concerning shelter. Legal aspects, rights and obligations, procedures and advice.

Shelter: long term and/or crisis shelter

We are looking for long term shelter as crisis shelter for one or two nights. You can indicate your preference in the comments box on the form.

Shelter of refugees

Support & Advice

Weekly Information Meeting via Zoom

From March 16, we will meet every Wednesday at 8:00 pm with everyone who provides care. We share experiences, give tips and advice and provide space to ask questions.

Information and advice

On this website you will find all current information regarding assistance to Ukrainian refugees. We bundle all available information at the bottom of this page.


Information: Legal and Practical Aspects

How is shelter organised?

The federal government launched the campaign #plekvrij. You can sign up at your local government if Ukrainian refugees may stay with you. We call Christians to action to sign up too. Churches: let’s excel in hospitality!

Which residential status do Ukrainians get?

The European Union has decided that Ukrainians don’t have to ask for an asylum. Directly they have the right for protection for one year. This can be extended for a maximum of two times. They do not come in the normal shelters because they have a right for shelter in the normal housing market. However, the offer of this is inadequate.

Where do Ukrainians need to sign up?

Ukrainian refugees need to sign up in Brussels

The new registration centre is in Paleis 8 at Heizel (Verregatsstraat 1, 1020 Brussels). For more information about the centre:

DVZ registers all the personal data. In principle, the DVZ will immediately give a ‘certificate temporary protection’ and there will be no longer a intermediate step of ‘pre-registration’.

The registration centre is open 7 days a week from 08:30 to 17:30 and can be reached by metro, line 6, stop Heizel.

Please note: if families are placed via Gave Veste they also most sign up in Brussels.

Update: online resevation

You can now make an online reservation for the registration in Brussels. This will avoid queuing. All details via

The form via:

What happens after registration?

With the registration in Brussels happens also the first screening. For people who don’t have a place to stay Fedasil will give them crisis shelter for 1 to 2 days. After that people will be placed in shelter at a local level (at the local government). Places that are used right now are hotels, empty houses, shelter by people at home etc.

Do Ukrainians have to sign up directly at Brussels?

No, they have the right to stay in Belgium for 90 days. You can for sure rest for a bit and have a good night of sleep. In the following days Ukrainians can go to Brussels to sign up for a special statute for a year. If they want to, you can go together to the registration office.

Do they need to go the place where all refugees register?

No. Normally they need to sign up at the office in Brussels, but for Ukrainians there is a special registration office.

Signed up in Brussels, and then?

There will be a registration at Brussels and a statute of temporary protection given if the conditions for that are met. With that statute you go to your local government of the person concerned and they will give you an A-card which is valid for a year.


  • Registration at the local government – only if they have a statute of temporary protection and an email with the conformation of that
    • In consultation with the OCMW or if we get the question to visit, you have to make appoints for that.
    • The citizen comes and registers at the scheduled time.
    • What follows is a registration per person (for instance a family with 1 kid are 3 registrations with 3 statues of temporary protection)
    • Appendix 15 (temporary residence document) is given.
    • The police will come after an application for home inspection (to see if you really live at that address)
    • Application for an A-card at the townhall after a positive home inspection

How does it work with insurance and finances?

At the registration things like insurance and finances will be taken care of. They get the statute of a temporary displaced person. This means that these people will be signed up at the register of displaced person with right of residence of one year (is possible to extend). They will get an electronic A-card with all the rights that are connected to that, like welfare, access to work and the right to education.

Temporary protections opens the way for work, social services, family benefits, health insurance and integration.

Do Ukrainians also have the sign up at OCMW or the local government?

Yes. Registration is needed at Brussels and the local government where they have shelter. With the statute that Brussels gives them they get an A-card from the local government. With that they ask for welfare at the OCMW and they have the right to work.

Can I  just shelter Ukrainians?

Yes. Ukrainians have the right to stay in Belgium for 90 days and after registration in Brussels for a year. They have a right for shelter and may seek that at the private housing market. As a host family you can really help with that. Long term shelter at your home is also possible because of a special legal regulation.

Which legal framework is there for shelter?

The federal government launched the campaign #plekvrij. The secretary of state Mahdi calls up the citizens to open their homes temporarily for refugees. This form of solidarity of short-term temporary shelter is separate from long-term housing.

Since the end of 2016 it is possible in Flanders to open your own home and use the free space for them for refugees. Those refugees need to have an asylum or a grant of international protection. To do this you only need to report this at your local government. More information about the rights and obligations concerning this:

Can Ukrainians travel for free with the train?

Yes. Refugees from Ukraine can travel for free in the train in Europe. This is possible after they show their Ukrainian passport.

How does it work with family reunification?

The temporary protection allows for family reunification. If a member of the family is in another EU-country with or without temporary protection, they can request Belgium to join their family in Belgium.

How long does the shelter last?

Keep in mind that it will take a longer than a few weeks, probably it will last for a few months to a year. Most of the refugees hope to return to Ukraine as soon as possible.

Beside that Ukrainians have the right for a house, they have the welfare for that. You may help them with that and with that, their independence. To make the burden lighter we advise to shelter a family with others. Below more tips on that.

Can I ask for a financial compensation for the costs of shelter?

Yes, you do not have to be shy to ask that. From the moment that they will receive a welfare you can ask them to help with the costs. Especially with rising costs for food and energy is this a very reasonable request.

What if it doesn’t click between the family that we give shelter?

Everything starts with making good rules and an agreement at the start. But it is still possible that there just isn’t a click. In case that happens, again this tip: do this together. Within the community you can then look for a solution. Is that also not possible? Make contact with the OCMW. If they also don’t have a solution than the only option left is to go to Brussels again and ask for shelter again.

Will shelter cost me something?

Yes. The shelter of refugees is a beautiful way to show hospitality and love for the stranger. If everything goes well it is also very enriching. Be aware: it will cost you something, but that okay. It would be strange if it would cost you nothing. Go out of your comfort zone, but: don’t be naïve, make sure you are informed and determine what you can handle.

Is there a place where I can get clothes?

For the crisis phase it is possible that you need clothes acute. Belgium Mission Team has a warehouse with clothes that they opened up for this. You have to make an appointment to meet there via +32(0)487859534 or

Do I have to offer psychological support?

No, to have an listening ear is important but it is not the intention to be a psychologist as a host family. It is better to refer the refugees to official bodies of your local government.

It is important that we don’t over question these people. First of all they need to rest and that is only possible if they trust and gain confidence in their new environment.

Source: Orbit vzw



Information : Tips and Tricks for Shelter

The amount of initiatives for the Ukrainian refugees is heart-warming. The situation in Ukraine however is going to take a long time. The shelter of refugees will be long-term thing. However: Ukrainians have the right for housing and will receive welfare. With that in mind, you can help them look for a house.

Organising shelter together: do it!

We recommend to not shelter on your own. Do it together with a (church) community. For instance you can arrange that 2 families shelter 1 Ukrainian family or 10 families 5 Ukrainian families.

The options that are possible with that is that the Ukrainian family can switch homes every two to three months or the Ukrainian family can stay a (long) weekend somewhere else.

Beside that it is also possible to divide the tasks. Maybe there people within the community that want to take care of clothes and school supplies. Or, other people who want to help with the language of to find the way to the counters. Or, maybe there is a family that invites them to eat dinner every week. This way you can help each other, you foster the integration and enlarge the social network of these Ukrainian refugees.

Herein lies the strength of a close-knit church community!

Which problems can arise?

  1. People who come from a war are in shock. They are not able to be happy guests. Because most of the families come without a husband and father they will be focused on the news about Ukraine and the contact with their loved ones. The uncertainty will increase their trauma and it is not yet time to process all of this.
  2. Habits of people, also the daily things, can be very different. Habits that in one culture will be considered polite will be rude in another.
  3. By host families that will shelter Ukrainian families long term it is possible that relationships will of will not click. This can give tensions.
  4. Without having social contacts there can be boredom. This can also give tensions.

Hospitality is an important Christian virtue. If is good for refugees to come into a family where live just goes on. For the host family giving shelter can be enriching and beautiful experience.

Urgent advice

In the interest of the host family and the refugees this is the most important tip: do it together

  • Never do it alone. Do it together with an organisation, a friend group or your church community. If everything gets to much, whether financially or emotionally you have something to fall back on.
  • Be a host family for a set time, plan evaluation moments and be clear about that to the refugees. Tip: rotate with a few host families so you get rest for instance every three months.
  • Make sure there is someone that you can trust, that every one of the family can go to. Not every problem is easy to talk about. There can arise love for each other but also aversion. Then it is important to have someone you can talk to.

If shelter is carefully set up it can be a very enriching experience for everyone.

More concrete advice via

Tools to Share with Ukrainian Refugees

Explanation of accommodation options

To explain all the possible accommodation options to Ukrainian refugees, you can download our info fiche with the essential information in different languages.



Brochure 'Bad sleeping'

As a counselor, care provider or buddy it is not always easy to start an conversation about psychological complaints. Do have someone with a migration background that has negative thoughts? Someone who has been through a lot? This brochure reduces the barrier to start a conversation.

Ten languages are available: Dutch, Dari, English, French, Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Romanian, Russian and Somali.


Source: Slaaperen-piekeren-en-stress

Communicating with pictograms

A icon is a symbol or image that tells a message. A pictogram brings a visual aid and makes it easier to understand your message.


  • Icons are universal
  • You can supplement with Dutch and thus giving learning opportunities


  • Only pictograms are not enough to make your communication intelligent, pictograms can not replace the language
  • Pictograms give a communication in one way: from caregiver to patient
  • Pictograms can also be confusing, not everyone knows them

Here are some useful tools: