Twenty-two left-wing mayors challenged the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, on homeless families, in an open letter published by The Sunday newspaper of February 5. “We are not resigned to the social distress we see every day”write these elected officials, stressing that “this winter is particularly worrying because it combines several factors of weakening of people already in a situation of great vulnerability”.
The letter is signed by mayors of France, including those (Socialist Party, PS) of Paris, Anne Hidalgo; from Lille, Martine Aubry; from Rennes, Nathalie Appéré; from Nantes, Johanna Rolland; from Rouen, Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol; and the mayors (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts) of Strasbourg, Jeanne Barseghian; from Lyons, Gregory Doucet; from Bordeaux, Pierre Hurmic; or from Grenoble, Eric Piolle.
Left-wing elected officials make seven proposals “to be deployed urgently throughout the national territory”and undertake to “fully mobilize” for their implementation. They ask “an emergency plan for the care of all children and their families without a solution”.
They propose to generalize the annual count of the number of people forced to sleep on the street; to adopt “a programming and planning law” accommodation places, “in a logic of territorial solidarity”, with recourse to the requisition of empty buildings and a financial penalty mechanism; of “remove the financial obstacles to the production of affordable housing and social housing” while at the same time upgrading housing aid.
States General of Food Aid
The elected officials also wish to allow the regularization of people “sustainably established on the national territory”and the opening of “first reception centers spread throughout the territory for people coming to seek refuge in France”. They still propose the organization of States General of food aid.
In his annual report presented this week, the Abbé Pierre Foundation estimates the number of homeless people in France at 330,000. This is 30,000 more than the previous year, and an increase of approximately 130% compared to 2012.
A few months after his first election as head of state in 2017, Emmanuel Macron declared that he no longer wanted to see “no one on the streets, in the woods, by the end of the year”. “The first battle: to house everyone with dignity. I want emergency accommodation everywhere. I don’t want any more women and men in the streets.”. In February 2019, the government had nevertheless decided to reduce the budget allocated to emergency accommodation by 57 million euros.