Gregory Chavalle new "Mister Homeless"
Grégory Chavalle, aged 27 and living in Brussels, has won the "Mister Homeless Contest 2012". This contest is being organized every two years and want to bring forward the problem of poverty. The election's last tour took place in the cosy settings of our vaulted "Cellars" last December 22nd.
"The fact of being homeless does not give you the right to just let things happen as they come. Being deprived does not mean you do not have to respect other people's property, e.g. when you spend the night in an abandoned property." It was a statement like this that finally made the jury decide to select Grégory Chavalle as the winner of the Mister SDF 2012 contest.
"In total 8 finalists were selected out of a group of 50 deprived people", according to co-organizer Mathilde Pelsers. She has been organizing this contest through her company Corvia (a non-profit organization) since 2009, together with her daughter Aline Duportaillle. Originally, the contest was a "Miss SDF Election", but it finally became a male project destined for making people sensible of the problem of social exclusion.
"We tackle five problematic areas", explains Carla De Jonge, one of the members of the jury. "The psychically homeless, due to reasons of loneliness e.g., those being born poor, youngsters in poverty, people without an official residence and finally people that fell into poverty after having been rich. Gregory belongs to the second category; his mother as well as his grand-parents are poor."
However, this situation did not keep him from helping other poor people. Over the last couple of years he was actively involved in several activities set up by Corvia asbl. So he helped with the distribution to homeless people of rucksacks containing a blanket, cutlery and a thermos flask. "Pioneers" the members are called and they take part in the Brussels Cup, a socker tournament between teams of the Brussels homeless.
The next "Mister SDF" election is scheduled end 2014.