Paris: “It would cost less to take care of people on the street,” says Léa Filoche

Paris: “It would cost less to take care of people on the street,” says Léa Filoche

As a great solidarity meeting is being organized at the Hôtel de Ville this Wednesday, January 11, the Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Solidarity, Léa Filoche, recalls her struggle for a dignified and unconditional welcome to the people of the streets.

“We will be there to help families and street children. It is a matter of dignity, of humanity”, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, presented this Tuesday, January 10th, to the elected representatives of the city and metropolis, declaring that nobody “turns their eyes to the need that suffers from our windows” and called on the state to “urgently implement a comprehensive housing plan” for all these people and especially for children.

Point your finger

In the absence of the great solidarity meeting organized this Wednesday at City Hall, the state is often singled out by solidarity actors accused of not taking part in welcoming the people on the streets. Today, “the involvement of the state is below what is needed”, confirms with CNEWS Léa Filoche, the Paris City Hall assistant in charge of solidarity, the fight against inequalities and exclusion, who uses this meeting to “ring the alarm bells again”.

For the deputies, it is also about “developing proposals” at the expense of the city, which the state “could appropriate”, “with the creation of housing, the improvement of social care and the bundling of teams in this area”, and above all “to stand up for public opinion” and “to make it known that we cannot accept that in the 6th world power families and children sleep outside.

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“It’s not because we open a shelter in one place that real estate there will lose 20%,” claims the elected official, who believes “it’s always better to have humanized and dignified places for those who are on the street than.” “The state must take the measure of the disaster,” she said, convinced “that it would cost less for everyone to care for these people with dignity and justice.”

Actionable Solutions

According to the MP, three solutions could already respond to a certain number of problems that Paris and its region are facing, but not only. First, with the opening of an “airlock square” to allow people arriving on French territory, especially on the asylum journey, to take stock of the health, psychological, social and administrative aspects, “like what we did for the Ukrainian refugees “. , remembers Léa Filoche, who invokes a system of “national distribution” to bring into play the solidarity of the whole country.

Then with “the very significant increase in emergency room places” coupled with a real policy of “social reintegration”. “On the street there are people who have experienced accidents on the way, long periods of unemployment, illnesses, there are people who have nothing to do outside, who are in psychiatric emergencies, with disabilities,” emphasizes the helper, who criticizes the State of “saturated devices” and “not adjusted anyway”. In his eyes, an emergency that must be answered “at the national level”.

Finally, the national coordinator of the Generations movement advocates the regularization of undocumented migrants. “Today, the housing systems are oversaturated with people who have no business there because a large proportion of them work and are integrated but are undocumented,” she says, evoking a “kind of gray area” in which the latter live “the law on nothing, transferred from one hotel to another”. “Very difficult” situations, in her opinion, “especially for children” who cannot project themselves onto something permanent and reassuring.

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And this while the number of places to stay, especially in hotels, is falling with the return of tourists. “We have benefited from sleeping in empty hotels for two years due to a lack of tourists, but today even historically grown social hotels are stopping doing social work for tourism,” testifies the elected official, reporting 4,000 to 5,000 fewer beds a year alone 2022 figures by Samu social.

“Too many people outside”

The Solidarity Night organized next Thursday, January 26 should make it possible to know if this drop has an impact on the number of people on the streets today. Certainly, according to Léa Filoche, who says she is “concerned” that the numbers are rising again after three years of decline. “The general feeling, whether from clubs, intermediaries or residents, is that we clearly see that far too many people are outside, especially families,” she fears.

As for the solution of requisitioning the empty seats, the deputy does not have high hopes. “In Paris we have reached the end of vacancy, there are not many left and the square meter is expensive, both literally and figuratively,” she insists, before recalling that there are still two emblematic ones: the Hôtel Dieu , owned by the AP-HP and the former Val-de-Grâce hospital, owned by the Ministry of the Armed Forces”.

So many empty squares or offices that need adjustments, with the installation of toilets, showers and common areas. “All this requires resources, and the state is not releasing anything at the moment”, regrets the one who does not want to put up with it and wants to continue “working every day with our means, our skills and our networks to try to improve everyday life”. of the people on the street.

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