New shelters to welcome Paris' tent-dwellers

10th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 9, 2006 (AFP) - Hundreds of homeless people are to be offered free beds as part of a drive to rid Paris' river banks and landmarks of makeshift campsites set up by the destitute, the government said Wednesday.

PARIS, Aug 9, 2006 (AFP) - Hundreds of homeless people are to be offered free beds as part of a drive to rid Paris' river banks and landmarks of makeshift campsites set up by the destitute, the government said Wednesday.

Social Cohesion Minister Catherine Vautrin said 1,000 new shelter places, open 24 hours a day all year round, would be opened across the Paris region — at a cost of EUR 7 million.

The Paris tent camps, which have sprung up under bridges, along canals and boulevards throughout the sunny months, were an unintended side-effect of a charity campaign to hand out hundreds of tents to homeless people last winter.

Paris city hall tried to tackle the issue last month after residents started complaining of noise problems and petty crime, by asking humanitarian groups to convince the homeless to move into shelters instead.

Accused of trying to "clean up" the city for the summer tourist season, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë insisted he was acting out of concern for the homeless.

According to French campaigners, there are 450 tents in the streets of Paris, including 300 handed out by the charity Medecins du Monde as part of its campaign to draw attention to the problem of social exclusion.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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