First Census Conducted In France On Homeless Population

Homeless Population

For the first time in France's history, a census was taken in Paris to determine the number of homeless persons or those who "sleep rough" at night under the order of French President Emmanuel Macron. The census was called Nuit de la Solidarite (Night of Solidarity) and Macron had promised last year to end homelessness in France by the start of 2018.

Approximately 2,000 people were involved in the undertaking, and the counts they gathered were 3,000 homeless. A few officials advise that the figure that was given in this first-ever census, 3,000 people living homeless on the street, is off the mark, one official claiming grossly off, putting the actual homeless population closer to 10,000.

Several Aid Groups are also reporting the number is at or above 10,000 people. There is no accounting for the large discrepancy in numbers given by Homeless Aid groups and the official count. Some say the census is flawed because stairways, basements, carparks and other places people take shelter were not factored into the count.

Homelessness is defined as a person who is without a fixed, permanent residence who lives on the street or in a vehicle or who may stay at shelters, missions or may sleep in abandoned spaces. This also includes those who are able to stay in a friend or relative's dwelling for the night.

Eleven homeless people died in Paris between the first month of 2018. 18 in total across the region. France has seen an average of 500 deaths per year of homeless people on the street since 2012, most who are men. The average age is 53 years old and the longer one is living on the streets life expectancy lowers.

Rising unemployment, inability to afford shelter, mental health issues and the high cost of low-quality dwellings in the city have all contributed to the rise in homelessness. The influx of thousands of migrants in a steady, non-stop manner is claimed to hammer the city with the latest blow to the homelessness crisis.

Last July, Emmanuel Macron vowed to create livable shelters and housing for 6,000 homeless, including migrants, from 62 hotels in the city. In early February, he admitted that he had not kept his campaign promise saying, he failed and that a different solution would need to found, discarding his promise of utilizing temporary hotels as shelters. The French President makes new vows to continue to fight for the solution to homelessness in France.

The promise comes too late for the latest homeless victim in Paris, a 52-year-old woman, discovered by a passerby. The woman had lived on the streets only three years. A newcomer, in contrast to the many who have survived much longer.

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