Paris to open town hall doors to homeless people this winter

Paris town hall.
Paris town hall. Copyright Lionel Allorge/Wikipedia
By Alice Tidey
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The measure is part of a plan to create some 3,000 emergency night shelter places.


Paris town hall palace will open its doors to homeless people this winter as part of a city-wide plan to use public building as emergency shelters, the mayor announced on Sunday.

Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist mayor of the French capital, announced her plan in the Journal du Dimanche (JDD) newspaper on Sunday, highlighting that some 3,000 places are needed  at night shelters across Paris.

"Several districts' town halls — whether left or right-wing — have accepted to open night shelters on their premises," Hidalgo told JDD.

Her own workplace, a 19th century palace in the heart of Paris, will open a night shelter for women, capable of welcoming at least 50 people and up to 100 on nights were temperatures dip particularly low.

The salon des Prévots and the salon des Tapisseries — which Queen Elizabeth II visited during a 2014 trip to Paris — will be transformed as a day centre where homeless people will be given food and treatment and then as a night shelter with beds and sanitary facilities.

"Beyond the symbol, it's concrete. The Paris town hall must lead by example, show that it's possible du accomodate homeless people everywhere, even in one of the republic's palaces," Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo, who had vowed to create 1,500 emergency places for homeless people before the end of the year,  has already mobilised various public buildings and urges  the government to create the other half of places needed.

"We must all roll up our sleeves. I encourage businesses with empty premises to make them available," she added.

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