Homeless Parisians get headcount

Paris conducted its first homelessness study this month, sending city hall employees into the streets to start tallying the numbers.

Lara Bullens
Lara Bullens NewsMavens, Western Europe
Source: Le Monde
Homeless Parisians get headcount - NewsMavens
A homeless man sleeps on the streets of Paris. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

One of French President Emmanuel Macron’s boldest and most ambitious promises was to abolish homelessness by the end of 2017. In France, we’ve seen the extent to which politicians are disconnected from reality, especially when it comes to the reality of living in Paris or any other major French city.

In January, for example, French politician Julien Denormandie said in a radio interview that there were only 50 homeless people living in Paris. Public outrage ensued. Later, Jean-François Copé, a candidate for the primary elections, claimed chocolate croissants cost “around 10 or 15 cents.” The internet laughed.

But underneath this laughter was a hidden anxiety, a sad realization, that wealthy politicians are completely ignorant of the struggles of ordinary citizens.

This initiative might come too late, but it's not too little. It will unveil the truth and urgency about homelessness in Paris that people in power need to understand. It also will allow associations, social workers and the French state to work with official data. 

cities,France,human rights

Details from the story:

  • On Thursday night into early Friday morning, 2,000 volunteers and social workers roamed the streets of Paris to gather data on the number of homeless people in the city.
  • The capital was divided into 350 subsections, with teams of three to five volunteers led by social workers.
  • Each team asked people how long they have been homeless, if they ever called the emergency number (115) and if they were offered accommodation. Then each homeless person received a light meal.
  • “Parisians are tired of rubbing shoulders with the homeless population without knowing what to do,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
  • The results of the Paris homeless census will be published on March 20.
  • Eleven homeless people have died on the streets of Paris since Jan. 1.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy