Homeless people to be moved out of Paris before the 2024 Olympics

FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings to celebrate the IOC's official announcement that Paris won the right to host the 2024 Olympics are seen in front of the Eiffel Tower at Trocadero square in Paris, France, September 14, 2017.

FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings to celebrate the IOC’s official announcement that Paris won the right to host the 2024 Olympics are seen in front of the Eiffel Tower at Trocadero square in Paris, France, September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The French government plans to move homeless people out of Paris ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in the capital, sparking criticism from some mayors of the region’s towns and villages, where the Ants will let them stay.

From mid-March, the government began asking officials across France to create “temporary regional accommodation facilities” that could handle the influx of homeless people from the capital, many of them are migrants.

Housing Minister Olivier Klein explained to parliament earlier this month that the changes were necessary as a housing crisis is expected in the City of Lights during the Rugby League period. World Games from September and the Olympics in July and August.

Many of the low-end hotels that authorities use to provide emergency housing for the homeless have plans to rent out their rooms to sports fans and tourists at market rates.

The government estimates that hotel occupancy for homeless people “will be reduced by 3,000-4,000 seats as a result of these events,” Klein told MPs on May 5.

The expected fall, he said, “forces us to ask questions and prepare for the situation… It is the opening of accommodation in provincial areas for people who urgently need shelter.”

But some of the proposed locations have raised concerns among local elected figures.

The mayor of Bruz in northwest Brittany, Philippe Salmon, on Tuesday voiced opposition to the idea of ​​a new center in his town of 18,000 people near the regional capital Rennes.

“We are not in favor of setting up a facility in our area, under conditions that we consider unacceptable,” he said.

The proposed site is next to a railway line and “polluted by hydrocarbons and heavy metals,” he said.

‘Positive in principle’

A homeless person lies on a bench in a public garden in Paris on April 26, 2023.

A homeless person lies on a bench in a public garden in Paris on April 26, 2023. (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP)

Pascal Brice, head of the Solidarity Workers’ Union, a charity for the homeless, says that “it’s about creating good conditions for people across France instead of on the streets in the Paris area about principle is positive.

“But are they bringing in the necessary resources?”

He said there was a risk of “pushing people on the bus” and not taking care of them.

Hadrien Clouet, an MP from the hard-left France Unbowed party, accused the government of adopting “the method of all dictatorships: moving homeless people by force to hide them from view. of the participants of the 2024 Olympics.”

Authorities in China cleared an unspecified number of beggars, street vendors and homeless people from the streets of China ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with many being transported back to their hometowns. their homeland, reports said at the time.

Brazilian advocacy groups also say homeless people in Rio de Janeiro were forced out of tourist areas at midnight when the city hosted the 2016 Olympics.

The French initiative to create emergency housing capacity in small towns across the country fits the model under President Emmanuel Macron of trying to disperse migrants and others in need. social support from the densely populated area of ​​Paris.

Efforts to create housing facilities for asylum seekers in provincial areas have become an explosive issue, prompting fierce resistance from some locals, far-right activists and mayor.

A French mayor who supports a migration center in his northwestern region of France has had part of his house burned down in an arson attack, prompting his resignation earlier this month.

Housing Secretary Klein said the fight against homelessness was the president’s “top priority” and that the money allocated to tackle the problem had “increased fivefold between 2012 and 2022. “

After coming to power in 2017, Macron gave himself until the end of the year to end the slumber once and for all.

He later admitted that he had failed, citing the influx of migrants from Africa and South Asia.

Many bridges and parks in Paris are used as shelters for the homeless, with camps and tents regularly cleared by security forces.


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