Paris, April 8, 2020. Myriam (left) and Marie-Anne du Secours Catholique are carrying out a marauding operation to help the homeless like Jérémie, in the midst of a pandemic. - V. VANTIGHEM

  • The coronavirus epidemic has made homeless people even more precarious than usual.
  • Confinement obliges, the French go out less and the sleeve hardly brings back what to eat. Associations have also seen their action limited due to the pandemic
  • "20 Minutes" carried out a marauding in Paris with the volunteers of Secours Catholique.

The sun begins to hit the La Fourche metro station in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. But Ahmed pulled the zipper of his jacket up. As if it would allow him to disappear behind the thick leather. The 46 year old man looks bad on bad days. Dark circles as black as his turban. And that the soluble coffee he orders, in a white voice, to Myriam and Marie-Anne. It is barely 2:30 p.m. this Wednesday. The two volunteers of Secours Catholique have not yet started their marauding trip, which they must already unblock the thermos of hot water at the top of the avenue de Saint-Ouen.

"It's hard ...", lamented the homeless 46 year old. Once seated on the window sill of a bank, his still proud gaze suddenly goes out, and speech is released. "I wouldn't be against a hotel room ... can I have water?" A meal too? »Myriam quickly picks up in the shopping bags attached to the handlebars of her ATV.

Paris, April 8, 2020. Because of the confinement, many homeless people say they find it harder to eat. - V. VANTIGHEM

The 55-year-old volunteer knows that the coronavirus epidemic has plunged the homeless into an even greater precariousness than usual, as Jérémie simply summarizes, installed, in front of the Monop 'in rue Collette: "The people are confined to their homes. They spend little. The round pays less. It's a pain… ”His plastic bag is full to the brim, but he does not hesitate to eat one more meal, as if he was convinced that the situation was going to get worse.

What solutions for the homeless during confinement? - Via @ 20minutes

- Delphine Bancaud (@ bancaud1) March 18, 2020

"The feeling that hunger is becoming a real problem"

"It's difficult to take stock now," explains Marie-Anne, history of Secours Catholique. For the past few days, I have had the feeling that hunger has become a real problem. But I can't assure him yet… ”Jean-Philippe seems to agree with him. The SDF does not bother to put on his shoes to cross the avenue, throwing abruptly: "Do you have something to eat?" "

In Marie-Anne's bicycle basket, the café rubs shoulders with the can of hydroalcoholic gel, basic necessities checks and some foodstuffs collected here and there. Today, she can also count on Farid who, as a neighbor, spontaneously came to distribute the Berber pastries that her sister concocted jointly. Sesame and orange blossom. " Too good ! Exclaims Fabrice. Cap on the top of the head, he does not hesitate to immediately ask for the rab ', the mouth still full. "Don't you have soup too?" “, Claims his sidekick, before falling back on the sweet.

Marie-Anne's bicycle basket. - V.VA

Government to distribute checks

Real or assumed, the problem seems in any case to have been identified by the Ministry of the City and Housing. "We know that food aid is struggling to reach the most disadvantaged because of confinement," says one of the offices of Julien Denormandie. This is why we are going to start distributing "service vouchers" allowing purchases of food or basic necessities in the most sensitive areas. "At the rate of two checks of 3.50 euros per day, the device could benefit 60,000 needy Amount of the operation: 15 million euros for the government.

2. Other measure: 8,200 hotel places were requisitioned in emergencies to accommodate people in difficulty.

- Vincent Vantighem (@vvantighem) April 8, 2020

It was obviously not planned. Just like this virus that attacks everything. Including the organization of associations usually numerous to help the poorest. Secours Catholique has, for example, asked its teams to limit the marauders to two per week, for lack of protective masks sufficient to do more. “Besides, most of our volunteers are over 70 years old. So we told them to stay at home, explains Solène Mahé, coordinator of street actions at Secours Catholique. In parallel, I urgently trained new younger volunteers, by videoconference, last week. "

Our file on the coronavirus

Including Myriam. In another life, she was busy repairing bicycles for the VélocipAide association. Today, she drives for the homeless as if nothing had happened. "I'm happy," she said at the end of the marauding. The last time, I saw that Jeremiah was badly badly badly. But there, I think he's doing better… ”Marked by a recent fight, the face of the 35-year-old man, who looks 50, lights up at this evocation. "Do you iron well on Sunday?" », He checks, taking over Stephen Clarke's book which occupies him at the moment. His title ? God save France . He or anyone else ...


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