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In numbers: France's growing homeless crisis

Ben McPartland · 3 Feb 2015, 14:08

Published: 03 Feb 2015 14:08 GMT+01:00

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The housing charity Fondation Abbé Pierre, released their 20th annual report on Tuesday, and it doesn’t make pleasant reading for those in charge of housing policy in France.

The charity blasted consecutive governments which failed to act, meaning 3.5 million people in France are currently living without adequate accommodation.

The report notes that over the last 20 years the housing crisis has affected more and more families and left thousands more living in the streets.

"This is a painful review," said the managing director of the Fondation Abbé Pierre, Christophe Robert. "The methods [to fight homelessness] were designed back in 1990, but they no longer apply, because of the massive increase in poverty."

Director of studies at the charity Manuel Domergue adds: "The aid options are no longer appropriate and are choked up."

Story continues below…

The figures listed below show how bad the situation has become:

  • Almost 10 million people are in fragile situation in terms of housing including 3.5 million in sub-standard accommodation, ie. without a fixed home, living in hotel rooms, camp sites, squats etc).
  • Fondation Abbé Pierre says there are 141,000 thousand "sans abri" in France, meaning those who live on the streets, in parks, under bridges and in makeshift camps. That number is made up of young and old people, the jobless, former inmates and asylum seekers.
  • Around 38,000 people in France are currently housed in hotels waiting to find permanent accommodation.
  • Around 440,000 people, without accommodation of their own are staying off the streets by living with friends or family.
  • The charity points to the fact that during the winter of 2013/2014 the 115 emergency phone line for homeless people received 355,000 requests for accommodation, despite the fact only 140,000 places were available.
  • In 2013 there were 120,000 expulsions due to non-payment of rent.
  • 1.8 million households are on the waiting list for social housing, but only 450,000 are granted lodging each year.
  • There are 429 shantytowns or places classified as a slum in France which are home to between 15,000 and 20,000 people. There is often no running water and appalling sanitary conditions.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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