Soft Landing

Central Station of Luxembourg ©

Soft landing at central station”. This is the title the Luxembourgish magazine Delano chose for its article about a new social organisation. As a matter of fact, even if this organisation does not have something to do with flying, the Para-Chute can be considered as a drop-in point for people who have ”stranded” in the country and see the central station of Luxembourg as their last resort for a safe shelter.

The facility of the Para-Chute from inside and outside ©VDL

Inaugurated 1st May 2016 by the ministers for Family Affairs and Infrastructure, the Para-Chute is a Streetwork-project which has been established by the City of Luxembourg in collaboration with Luxembourg’s state railway company. It is closely linked with other organisations such as Asti or Caritas. Not only does the organisation look after people who have arrived in Luxembourg and are in despair, but the two social agents, who work at the central station, also help homeless people, young runaways, prostitutes, drug addicts and alcoholics. Thus, the missions of the social agents are very varied. However, they mainly focus on deedless teenagers and adults who are loitering around at the station quarter. Up to ten people can visit the Para-Chute at once. This infrastructure does not only offer people a shelter, hot beverages, a charging port for cell phones and water for their pets, they also encounter people who listen to them and who are willing to help them in order to get out of their misfortune. As a matter of fact, the Para-Chute offers a network of matching organisations which are specialised in different fields of social assistance.

The Para-Chute has been established for a pilot period of two years. However, it seems as if the organisation will remain open. There is even a growing political discussion about opening two additional Para-Chute facilities at the railway stations of Esch-sur-Alzette and Ettelbruck.