Additional Funding for Emergency Accommodation in France Amid Cold Spell

€120 Million to Strengthen the System

The Minister Delegate for Housing, Patrice Vergriete, announced on January 8th an additional budget of €120 million to reinforce the emergency accommodation system in France. The country is currently experiencing a severe cold spell, making it even more crucial to address the issue of homelessness and provide shelter alternatives.

“The goal is not only to create more spaces but also to prevent people from entering emergency accommodation and to get them out more quickly,” said Vergriete when visiting a day center in Paris.

Create Spaces and Shorten Waiting Times

This new funding aims to respond to the urgent need for more emergency accommodations. Additionally, authorities hope to decrease waiting times within these places—a strategy that is seen as more beneficial than solely focusing on creating more units. This could translate to an estimated addition of 10,000 housing units, according to Mr. Vergriete.

Addressing Urgent Needs for Women and Children

A significant portion of the allocated budget will be used for addressing urgent needs, especially for accommodating women and children, who are thought to number around 3,000, based on estimates by Emmaus. Furthermore, the government intends to use this opportunity to deeply reform the emergency accommodation system. This would entail better coordination with local authorities while ensuring fewer people enter emergency accommodation, like through preventing evictions.

  • According to ministry statistics, the number of places in emergency accommodation has increased from 198,000 to 203 ,000 today, compared to 93,000 recorded ten years ago.
  • In addition, 470 emergency accommodation units have been opened for Pas-de-Calais residents affected by flooding.

A Decade of Progress with “Housing First” Plan

Since 2017, the ministry stated that around 440,000 homeless people have found housing through the successful implementation of the “Housing First” plan. In addition, Vergriete highlighted the recruitment of 500 additional staff members for social monitoring announced in November as proof of the government’s commitment to addressing homelessness.

“It is the role of a government to show solidarity in order to fulfill the commitment of the President of the Republic, namely unconditional accommodation […] regardless of origin, profile or situation,” added Vergriete. This statement refers to the access condition introduced by the immigration law, stating that individuals must not be subject to an obligation to leave the country.

Role and Future of Patrice Vergriete

Rumors had been circulating about the possible resignation of Patrice Vergriete. However, he clarified that although he expressed his opinion on a text that did not originate from the government, he never threatened to resign.