End of the winter break: “Maybe the police will come and kick me out”

End of the winter break: “Maybe the police will come and kick me out”

While the winter truce has been postponed until the end of May due to the Covid-19 epidemic and its economic consequences, 30,000 families risk losing their homes from Tuesday.

Rachida is threatened with eviction from June 1, 2021 for unpaid rent.  She lives in an apartment in very poor condition in Paris.  (CLAIRE LEYS / RADIO FRANCE)

In the entrance hall, the suitcases are ready with medicines, papers, and some clothes. Rachida knows that the police can ring at her door at any time. The winter break for rental evictions ends on Monday, May 31. It had been extended for two months due to the health crisis linked to Covid-19.

In ten minutes, you have to get dressed, return the keys and after that, it’s the street. This scenario turns on a loop in Rachida’s head. “I have dark thoughts. I’m tired, I lost my job, she says. I lost a lot of things. I sleep on medication, the last time I went to see a psychiatrist. My life is changed, I can’t go to work, I can’t move from home. If I go out, maybe the police will come behind me and kick me out. ”

“I can not stand it anymore”

For Rachida, 49, since 2018 the problems have been piling up. First the loss of his job in the restaurant business, then health concerns. She lives on 523 euros in aid per month. It will be four years since she no longer paid her rent of 500 euros. Eligible for the opposable right to housing (Dalo), Rachida has priority to be rehoused: “The prefecture is not relocating me, I cannot understand when I have a good record and there is the Dalo law, I cannot take it any longer.”

If she stays, then it is not by choice. She lives in a very chic street in the 16thdistrict of Paris. But behind the beautiful wrought iron gate, hides a dilapidated apartment. “The windows do not close, describes Rachida. If it rains at night, noise can be heard. If I take a shower, it goes downstairs to the neighbors, there is flowing water. ”

Rachida is threatened with eviction from June 1, 2021 for unpaid rent.  She lives in an apartment in very poor condition in Paris.  (CLAIRE LEYS / RADI FRANCE)

“We have a situation of very strong tension”

Rachida is one of the 30000households that could lose their homes. In2020, there have been very few evictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic so the files are inevitably piling up. The Abbé Pierre foundation is inundated with calls for help, explains the general delegate of the association Christophe Robert: “We have a situation of very strong tension, that is to say that there are those who were not expelled last year but for whom the procedure continues and those who are threatened with expulsion under of this year.”

The government promises to stagger the evictions over two years and to find a solution of rehousing or accommodation for those affected. An untenable promise, according to housing assistance associations which describe the immense distress in 2021 of thousands of homes. The government also promises to maintain the thousands of emergency accommodation places until next spring. Not enough to reassure the Abbé Pierre Foundation, which fears the social consequences of the health crisis in the months to come with even more households unable to pay their rent.

End of the winter eviction truce: report by Claire Leys

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