More than 20 major French mayors have called on President Emmanuel Macron to immediately address the alarming situation of the homeless in the cold of winter, as the situation deteriorates for the unhoused people.
In an open letter signed by 22 left-wing mayors, including Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, the officials cited the latest report from the Abbé Pierre Foundation about a worrying increase in the number of vulnerable people who are likely to fall into extreme exclusion.
“We are not resigned to the social distress we see every day” read the letter written by the 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, which made its appearance in the Le Journal du Dimanche, further stated the seven concrete proposals, which the mayors urged “to be deployed urgently throughout the national territory.” The officials have also asked for “an emergency plan for the care of all children and their families without a solution.”
They have proposed to adopt “a programming and planning law” for accommodation places “in a logic of territorial solidarity”, with the possibility of requisitioning empty buildings and a financial penalty mechanism.
The French mayors have also asked for the removal of “the financial obstacles to the production of affordable housing and social housing” while at the same time upgrading housing 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.”
A few months after his first election as head of state in 2017, Macron announced that he wished to see “no one on the streets, in the woods, by the end of the year”. With his promise to provide a house to everyone, Macron also claimed that he wanted emergency accommodation everywhere.
“I don’t want any more women and men in the streets.” In February 2019, the government nevertheless decided on a budget down by 57 million Euros for emergency accommodation.
According to the annual report that was presented this week by the Abbé Pierre Foundation, the number of homeless people in France amounts to around 330,000. This is 30,000 more than the previous year and has seen an increase of approximately 130 percent compared to 2012.