With the 2024 Olympics approaching, the French government wants thousands of homeless people, mostly immigrants, out of Paris. The intention would be to accommodate them elsewhere during that time, but the plan has already led to significant criticism.
The government is asking officials across France to create temporary housing for the homeless from the capital. According to Housing Minister Olivier Klein, the intervention is necessary due to the expected shortage of hotel accommodation in the City of Light during the Games and before that at the Rugby World Cup in early May next year.
Hotel owners expect an influx of tourists during that period, but many hotel rooms are used by the government as emergency shelter. Hoteliers would rather see those rooms go to paying tourists. Maud Gatell, who represents the sector, says it will be about 5,000 rooms.
Since mid-March, the government has asked the Prefectures, their representatives in the regions, to set up “temporary regional reception centers” in almost all regions in order to “relieve pressure on reception centers” in the Paris region.
Opinions are divided
Some of the proposed sites have already raised concerns. The mayor of Bruges in Brittany speaks of unacceptable conditions because the proposed reception center is located near a railway line and the soil there is contaminated.
A homeless charity describes it as “positive in principle” if people are housed in good conditions throughout France, rather than living on the streets of Paris.
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