Sleeping on the Streets in Paris

One thing I was shocked to see when in Paris was the large number of people sleeping on the streets.

When people document/blog about their trip to Paris, they sometimes forget to mention what Paris is actually like. We continue to escape this issue and pretend it doesn’t exist but I saw not only people on their own, but families with their babies and children living on the streets. Their old and dirty sleeping bags as a cover and flat cardboard boxes as a ‘mattress’.

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Picture by @ahikaro

People jumping over the metro barriers to get on the next train and go through each carriage begging locals and tourists for any spare change, people who will go to the vending machines and search high and low for dropped or forgotten change.

The heartbreaking thing is that locals and tourist pass these people like its normal. I understand that there are homeless people living all over the world, but I have never come across families settling in for the night on the dirty street, trying to get their six month old baby to sleep or watching their young children run around barefoot when there is harmful and unhygienic things all over the floor.

What has happened for this to become a normal reality?

 

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Picture by @ahikaro

 


Facts and Numbers

After a lot of research, trying to get an accurate number on how many people/families are homeless in Paris, I was unable to find an answer. Many websites stated different numbers because the truth is, nobody knows.

What researchers do know is that the homeless population in France increased by 50% between 2001 – 2011 and despite a larger expansion in shelter capacity since 2004, the need for shelters is continuously in high demand.

  • In 2013, 453 homeless people died in the streets of France
  • French government have announced that €50m would be spent on emergency housing the homeless in Paris
What is being done?

Apart from the spare change here and there, people’s generosity seems to be wearing thin.

There are emergency shelters available for the homeless, which provide beds, showers and meals all year round and in the winter, there is a plan which tries to ensure nobody will be left on the streets in the colder months.

However, as you would expect; there are not enough shelters available for the amount of homeless people. After researching some more, I found that even though there are shelters available, some of the population refuse to use them due to hygiene and safety reasons.

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Parisian business’ have started to come together to help the homeless community who in search of a restroom, hot meals, water etc.

Click on the link below to find out more and have your faith in humanity restored;

Paris Business are Inviting the Homeless Inside

 

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Picture by @ahikaro

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