58-year-old Therese Van Belle from Schaarbeek, Brussels, won the first 'Miss Homeless' contest.
The final, which took place on Saturday evening in Brussels, saw 10 finalists vying for the place of Miss Homeless, along with the prize of a rent-free year in a flat.
Runner up Leonie Renier, 39, said she had lost her house and custody of her children because of drug and alcohol abuse.
The aim of this remarkable initiative is to call attention to the problem of the homeless.
Organiser Aline Duportail of the company Artefix said that "with this ‘Miss’ contest we want to expose the problem of homelessness in Belgium. This is certainly a very good way to boost the contestants' self-confidence."
There were five different parts to the Miss Homeless contest, including a talk with each contestant. The jury judged the candidates based on their "will to get themselves out of a difficult situation."
"Their inner beauty and strength, motivation to take part in the contest, personal story, and solidarity were also decisive factors,” said a competition official.
Winner Therese who was selected for her "fighting spirit and her will to improve her situation" said: "I'm really overcome, I've never been lucky in my life. This is the first time I've been lucky. I think my life is about to change for the better."