Belgian Miss Homeless wins free housing

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Indy Lifestyle Online

After the 'Miss Plastic' pageant for women who had plastic surgery concluded in Hungary October 10, another unusual beauty contest is already making headlines: a woman has been named the winner of ten roofless beauties in Belgium.

On-site media reported October 13 that 58-year-old Therese van Belle went home, in a good way, apparently demonstrating "inner strength and determination to get themselves out of their old life and on a new path," one of the requirements the pageant's organizers had been looking for.

Van Belle wins one year of free rent, while all nine of the other contestants will go back to living on the Belgian streets.

The initiative, which according to the organizers was hoped to raise homeless women's self-esteem, has provoked hot debate among the public and especially women's rights groups. Activist Jacqueline Aubenas was quoted in several media reports, saying: "I am outraged. These girls turned into puppets parodying their own life. Absolutely pathetic."

It seems as if homelessness is one of the issues that are 'fashionable' to be aware of at the moment: earlier this year, Brianna Karp, author of the Girls Guide to Homelessness blog, scored a much-publicized internship with US Elle, which has contributed a great deal to the exposure of her own and fellow homeless people's everyday struggles.

Site: girlsguidetohomelessness.com

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