The shocking stats that reveal the increasing number of homeless people dying in France

The number of homeless people dying in France has increased sharply with women and children among those who perish on the country's streets. These new figures reveal the extent of the problem.

The shocking stats that reveal the increasing number of homeless people dying in France
Photo: AFP


This is the official total for the number of homeless people who died in France in 2018, according to a new report by the French charity Morts de la Rue.

The figure represents those living either on the streets or in emergency shelters or unofficial squats in the months before they die. Some 20 percent of victims have been SDF (sans domicile fixe or homeless) for five years before their death.

In reality the real number is likely to be far higher. In fact health authorities in France suggest the true total could be as much as six times higher.

It can often be hard to determine an exact cause of death. Many homeless people suffer from illnesses and some 30 percent are addicted to alcohol or drugs. The suicide rate among homeless people is higher than average and violent attacks and accidents are also behind some of the deaths.

19 percent

This represents the percentage increase in the number of deaths between 2018 and 2017, when there were 511 recorded deaths of homeless people.

That represents the biggest jump in recent years but the number of deaths have been steadily rising since 2013 when there were 461 recorded.

50 percent

According to Morts de la Rue, 50 percent of the homeless people who die do so “before our eyes”, in other words on the streets in full view of the public.


That's the average age of the homeless men who died last year, well below France's average life expectancy which currently stands at 82 years.

14 percent

Some 14 percent of those homeless people who die are from around Europe. Indeed less than half are French, according to stats from Morts de la Rue.

Some 20 percent of victims are from outside the EU and 25 percent are registered as “unknown origin”.


The number of those who die on the streets of France or in shelters also include minors. Last year there were 13 homeless people who died under the age of 18.

90 percent

While 90 percent of the victims are men, there are an increasing number of women. 

“Homeless women are often invisible, face particular difficulties related to gender, and suffer from violence during their life on the street,” said the authors of the study.
Between 2013 and 2018, 280 homeless women died at an average age of just over 46 years old. That number included 24 young women including children under the age of nine. One third of those homeless women who died were mothers with young children.
So what needs to be done?
As part of his presidential election campaign Emmanuel Macron promised to provide a roof over the head of every single person in France. But the government has a lot of work to do before his promise is fulfilled.
Nevertheless the charity Morts de la Rue insists “a home for everyone” must be the ultimate goal for authorities.
“Having a place to live is vital,” say Morts de la Rue.
“We can see that the impact on people of their time spent on the streets – mostly the effect on their physical and mental health which makes reintegration more difficult and even impossible over time,” the study said.
But in the meantime the charity is demanding a new major government study into homelessness. The last one carried out by the state's statistics agency INSEE was back in 2012.
The charity also insists that there must be consistency in the emergency accommodation offered to homeless people, whether it's the night shelters or the temporary homeless accommodation that opens in the winter months but closes in the spring.
Homeless people must be offered shelter all year round, the charity says, to provide them with a base and some stability.
Homeless people also need to be followed more closely by health and social agencies especially after they have spent time in hospital. Often they are not offered any help at vital times such as the period between leaving hospital and waiting to being given temporary accommodation in a shelter.
Police and the courts also need to be made much more aware of the impact of domestic violence on women.
“If they are better protected, they will not be forced to flee their own homes to escape the violence that they endure,” added Morts de la Rue.


Member comments

  1. How can there be a roof over every head when millions of undocumented migrants stream in from broken countries in the middle east and africa. In the long term rather than in the short term, money would be better spent fixing broken countries who should be caring for their own citizens. Europe cannot fix the world by accommodating the world.

  2. Now it is a right to have a roof too? And France keeps taking in uneducated and unskilled people from third world countries? Why?

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Paris to place 100 ‘small bubbles’ on city’s streets to shelter homeless

Paris City Hall has announced its latest method for helping the city's homeless population - distributing one hundred "small bubbles" around the streets of the French capital which can be used for shelter at night.

Paris to place 100 'small bubbles' on city's streets to shelter homeless
Photo: AFP
The launch of these “bubbles” was announced by the official in charge of the city's homeless population who on Tuesday evening said that they would help increase the amount of accommodation for people living on the Paris streets. 
“We need at least 3,000 more places [for homeless people],” said Dominique Versini.
So far the size of the “bubbles” has not been revealed although Versini said that they would account for “at least half” of the 3,000 places she says are necessary.  It has also not been decided where these bubbles will be located.
She also announced the creation of a public bath and shower area reserved for women, as well as two new restaurants for the city's homeless and an area for them to store their belongings. 
However so far City Hall has not announced when this plan will be put into action. 

Paris counts 3,000 homeless living on its streets in first ever censusPhoto: AFP

During the city's first ever Nuit de Solidarite (Night of Solidarity) in February, 1,700 volunteers and 300 Paris officials found that at least 3,000 people were sleeping rough on the streets of the French capital and authorities warned that this was likely to be a serious underestimate. 
This situation is “of absolute urgency,” said Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo on Tuesday night, adding that it was necessary to come up with new ways of addressing the situation. 
“Today there are 16,000 permanent places every day, and you need to go beyond that,” she continued. 
In February, after several controversies over the number of people on the street, the government had argued that 13,000 emergency shelter places had been created this winter.
Visitors to Paris are often shocked by the poverty that exists in some parts of the capital, especially the omnipresent beggars on the metro and the migrants' tents perched along the Canal Saint-Martin.
And across the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France there were a total of 18 deaths during the same period, according to the list from Les Morts dans la Rue (Deaths on the street), a collective dedicated to documenting the deaths of homeless people in France. 
In response to the list, Jean-Christophe Combe, director general of the Red Cross, told Le Figaro that the situation was “not acceptable and not sustainable”.