It is a completely atypical period that we have just gone through. To prevent the homeless from being massively affected by the epidemic, the State funded, during the confinement, a very large number of emergency accommodation places. He first extended the winter break, until May 31 and then until July 10, which had the effect of keeping the approximately 15,000 spaces available during the winter. It has also created nearly 20,000 additional places, including 12 to 13,000 at the hotel.
“This is approximately 35,000 additional places compared to the same period last year, which represents a very significant effort”, recognizes Florent Gueguen, director of the Federation of Health Actors. “This had a very positive impact since at the national level, the number of calls made to 115 decreased by more than 70%. I have been following these figures since 2012 and they have never been so good. “ Logically, the number of unmet accommodation requests has also decreased. « In many medium-sized cities, we have almost reached the zero homeless objective. This shows that there is no fatality and that if we want to give ourselves the means, we can solve the problem of the homeless ”, he concludes.
A significant improvement for families
However, this picture is not as positive everywhere. Certain departments such as Isère, Gironde and Nord, which have kept rates of “unsupported requests” above 90%, have made little progress. In addition, single men were housed less often. And all those who no longer call 115 remain outside the radars. But, for families, things have improved significantly. In Paris, which had a record number of street children at the end of 2019, the number of unmet requests for families fell below 200, while it was close to 800 at the start of March.
It remains to be seen what will happen from July 10, the date of the end of the state of health emergency and the extension of the winter break. Associations fear that many of these places will disappear. The problem is both budgetary and land. Financially, the amending finance law provided for an additional 200 million euros, an increase of 10% of the budget, but these credits must cover the additional costs already allocated to the management of the crisis. But it will also be necessary to anticipate the return to normal activity of hotels, holiday centers or student residences used during the period.
If, at the national level, the Ministry of Housing “Do not note any significant drop in hotel availability”, in Seine-Saint-Denis, this movement seems to have already started. From the second half of May, 115 de Seine-Saint-Denis “Observes an increase in unsuccessful requests for the benefit of people previously taken care of at the hotel”, according to a note from the Integrated Reception and Orientation Service 93. This one mentionse “1,351 individual requests” for which “The shelter could not be continued”, 65% of which are families with children. Since then, 270 have been relocated, but 95 remain unresolved. « If the entire fleet is not maintained, we will go from a health crisis to a humanitarian crisis ”, alert Florent Gueguen, in unison with the other associations.
“Relaunching mobility towards sustainable housing”
Housing Minister Julien Denormandie seems to have heard them. In a circular to the prefects dated June 3, he asked for“Avoid any delivery to the dry street”. In particular, “Mobility must be relaunched towards sustainable housing”, indicates his cabinet, where it is stated that the prefects have set the objective of making 3,000 HLM allocations in June and July. The creation of family pensions and rental intermediation accommodation, solutions recommended by the Housing Plan, is also encouraged. But without knowing whether we will use more of these devices. In addition, nothing is said about the people, very numerous in social hotels, who do not have a residence permit whose children have grown up in France and who, as such, cannot be expelled.
“The watchword is effectively:“ no dry exits ”. But for the moment, the guarantees of its implementation are not met ”sums up Christophe Robert, director general of the Abbé Pierre Foundation. The minister is expected to make announcements next.
Fewer calls to 115 during containment
The number of calls to 115, the emergency number to request accommodation decreased by 70 to 80%, depending on the different channels identified, between the week of February 10 to 17 and that of May 4 to 10. At 115 in Paris, calls were divided by 6.5.
The number of overnight stays awarded increased by 15% between March 2 and April 13. They particularly climbed in hotels and rather fell in centers, where the people accommodated were kept during confinement.
The number of “unsupported requests” for lack of space decreased from 2,438 on March 2 to 1,500 on average during confinement, before rising since. In 115, from Paris, their number decreased by 43.5% between March 2 and May 13.