“The closure would have been catastrophic”: the relief of reception structures after the extension of emergency accommodation until March 2022

“The closure would have been catastrophic”: the relief of reception structures after the extension of emergency accommodation until March 2022

After the government’s announcement of the extension of 43,000 emergency accommodation places open since the start of the pandemic until March 2022, reception facilities such as this hotel managed by the Salvation Army are expressing their relief.

A former hotel transformed into an accommodation center, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, on May 12, 2021. (BRUNO LEVESQUE / MAXPPP)

In her hotel room, Binta lives with her one-year-old daughter and her husband: a bed and a bathroom for three with a view of the ring road. Since the start of the pandemic, this room has been all it has. “Really, we are fine here, she indicates. The social workers help us to eat, morning noon and evening. Some spend the night outside, luckily we are protected. ”

The government has in fact extended the 43,000 emergency accommodation places open since the start of the pandemic until March 2022. Therefore beyond the end of the winter break on June 1. Also, in accommodation structures like this hotel deserted by tourists and managed by the Salvation Army in Aubervilliers north of Paris, it’s a relief. Nearly 200 people are accommodated, including Jocelyne, an isolated mother who dreams of no longer moving from one center to another.

The halls of the hotel are silent. Behind the doors live refugees, asylum seekers, but also single parents or families. A variety of profiles that require tailor-made support from Netty Losy, specialist educator. “This reassures us, she explains, to know that people are not outside, in the streets, especially for families with children. We can still see that people are really very vulnerable, so we reassure them about that. Then we start the administrative procedures.

Don’t let people sink

Steps for employment, access to healthcare, sustainable housing, long-term work. The extension of the accommodation places gives a little air to Dieudonné Kobanda, the manager of the center. “We couldn’t do otherwise, he indicates. The idea is not to let these people sink. All the centers are almost occupied. The closure would have been catastrophic. But now we will have to work on the aftermath.The association is still waiting to know if the requisition of the hotel will be extended by the prefect.