Thursday, 25 November 2010

Cold snap: what now for the down and out in Paris?

A homeless man near Gare de Lyon
Today marks one month until Christmas.  You can feel it too: recently there's been a cold snap, with temperatures in Paris is dropping to below zero in the night and the first flakes of snow falling.

In the news, there's been a lot of discussion of how Paris is going to aid its homeless population as this cold snap lingers.  In years gone by Parisian officials have come under fire for not doing enough, but this year the mayor's office is making gyms available for the homeless to sleep in during cold snaps.  There will be 350 places this year, an increase on the 290 made available last year.  The offices of four arrondissements in Paris will also be used to welcome the sans-abri in for the night.

In addition, Benoist Apparu, the Minister for Housing, has stated that all requests for lodging should be "provided for" this winter.

If this winter is anything like the last one when at least two homeless people froze to death during one cold period, then Paris has certainly got a job on its hands.  It's good to see that the government is acting now, in November, when the worst weather is still to come.  Still, it's worrying that the people who devote their time to helping those with nowhere to live say they are having to turn people away.  Let's hope that they can shelter as many as possible, but with at least 10000 sleeping rough every night in Paris, you fear they may not reach everyone.


  1. It is a problem through the whole year that only is highlighted in the cold months. Here's to hoping for hope for them. Found your blog via Peter's Paris. I also have a blog and I am also a congratulations on connecting with your students. It is a marvelous feeling, innit?

  2. It's true. Peter's Paris is a great blog! Hope you're coping with the snow up north, I saw your picture by the way, nice work!