Credit: Stëmm vun der Strooss

On Monday 5 February 2024, Stëmm vun der Strooss, a Luxembourg charity which supports people experiencing homelessness and vulnerable members of society, presented its achievements and current projects, in the presence of Marcel Detaille, President, as well as members of the board of directors including the vice-president André Theisen and treasurer André Duebbers.

The speakers during this meeting were Arnaud Watelet, Administrative and Financial Director, Tatiana Escure, Director of Human Resources and Bob Ritz, Communications Manager. According to the charity’s reports “poverty is exploding” in Luxembourg at present. Arnaud Watelet stressed that “today we can unfortunately see a significant number of minors (3.8%) who frequent social restaurants, which is all but a great place for children.”

The Stëmm vun der Strooss association, founded in 1996, is a major player in the fight against poverty and social exclusion in Luxembourg. Since its creation, the association has worked continually to improve the lives of people in precarious situations.

The Stëmm vun der Strooss action is based on the following fundamental pillars:

  • providing hot meals, free medical consultations, clothing, showers, reception and post-therapeutic support on all its nine sites;
  • supporting beneficiaries for socio-professional integration, including offering personalised guidance towards regaining financial independence, job search or professional skill development. 200 individuals are welcomed daily in the adapted reintegration workshops, for people whose skills are considered lacking to meet the productivity criteria imposed by the primary job market;
  • Stëmm vun der Strooss aims to raise awareness in the Luxembourg society to the issues of poverty and social exclusion, while working on projects and developing reintegration workshops.

In the area of human resources, the Stëmm vun der Strooss highlighted it has a team of around 76 social workers, 30 volunteers and partners. 365 individuals participated in the “collective utility worker” reintegration measure in 2023. Not having the possibility of being hired on the first job market, vulnerable members of society can thus find help through different missions and workshops to stabilise their situations. Furthermore, the charity noted it actively encourages citizens to get involved as volunteers in its activities. In addition to its 30 active volunteers, around 20 companies have carried out volunteering days on the various sites.

Stëmm vun der Strooss reported that Luxembourg’s Ministry of Health, as the supervisory ministry of the association, has contributed to supporting its activity with €7,741,000 in 2023. This financed 50.5 full-time equivalents and the majority of operating costs. The association actively seeks lasting partnerships with local businesses, foundations and individual donors. Donations make it possible to respond quickly to emergencies and finance 18.05 full-time equivalents on permanent contracts. The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) and Luxembourg’s Ministry of Labor have also been helping for two years with the financing of a position on the charity’s new projects. Luxembourg’s Ministry of Housing and Spatial Planning also provides a subsidy each year, the association added.

Since its creation in 1996, Stëmm vun der Strooss has worked to increase its capacity to serve meals every day. Currently, due to its continued efforts and the support of its partners, the association serves an average of 720 hot meals per day to those who need them most. In 2022, Stëmm vun der Strooss served 449 meals per day. Since 2014, the number of meals has increased by 191% to reach 198,127 meals in 2023. This achievement is the result of constant growth over the years.

Inflation, wars, refugees and immigration are bringing more and more people into very precarious situations, Stëmm vun der Strooss emphasised. Luxembourg has one of the highest rates of working poor in Europe. This is why the charity’s clientele has also long included people who have a job but cannot make ends meet in the middle of the month.

Customer attendance has been constantly increasing since 2014 but this growth has been exponential over the past two years. In 2023, 11,173 people accessed the association's services, i.e. +51.7% compared to 2021. This figure represents an increase of +302% compared to 2014.

 Stëmm vun der Strooss stressed that the fight against poverty and social exclusion remains a constant challenge, and that the financial support needed to absorb such increasing scarcity is imperative.

In 2023, the Stëmm vun der Strooss recorded the following achievements, among others:

  • 198,127 meals served, up 23.8% compared to 2022;
  • 189 tonnes of food redistributed free of charge, up 34%;
  • 27 people rehoused as part of the ImmoStëmm activity;
  • 4,468 people received free clothing donations;
  • 93 tonnes of linen from sports club uniforms were washed over the year by the Schweesdrëps workshop, up 33%;
  • 1,123 haircuts offered by the hairdresser volunteers.

The Stëmm vun der Strooss clientele is mainly made up of Portuguese and Luxembourgers, who represent around 14% of visitors, followed by Romanians, Spaniards, French and Ukrainians, each representing around 5% of the clientele, the association noted. The remaining 50% come from 141 other nationalities.

On the graph of nationalities welcomed as a percentage, there has been a decrease in the share of Luxembourgers over time, which is linked to greater diversity of the population. However, in terms of absolute numbers, an increase in the number of Luxembourgers among customers was noted: 274 in 2014, 935 in 2018 and 1123 in 2023.

Among customers, 79% are men, with an average age of 43 years. In addition, 8.5% are between eighteen and 25 years old, which is equivalent to 464 people, while 3.8% are minors, or 389 people, thus representing three times more than in previous years.

Without the growing generosity of known and anonymous donors from all social backgrounds, part of the good functioning of the Stëmm vun der Strooss would see itself decline year after year,” the association added, thanking its donours for their continued support.