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France

Homelessness in France on the rise

media Grisha7/Flickr CC

A French non-profit organisation put out its annual report on Thursday, showing an increase in poverty and homelessness among women. Secours Catholique says difficulty finding jobs is to blame.

The report entitled, “A Look at 10 Years of Poverty,” showed that Secours Catholique helped 1,422,000 people in 2011, 668,000 of which were children. The figures are up from those registered in 2001.

The number of women seeking services – such as food and accommodation – went up from 50 per cent in 2001 to 57 per cent in 2011. The NGO says that more mothers are becoming single parents, which represents 58 per cent of the families seeking aide.

While men represented 20,000 of single parent households, the number of women raising children alone was significantly higher at 160,000.

François Soulage, the president of Secours Catholique, said on French radio on Thursday that people were remaining in a state of poverty for longer and that most problems related to poverty and homelessness could be linked to lack of employment.

Among those receiving aide from Secours Catholique, 66 per cent are unemployed – up from 58 per cent in 2001.

A conference to fight poverty and exclusion from society will be held on 10 and 11 December, a measure that Soulage says is helpful but doesn’t go far enough.

“We think that what absolutely needs to happen is to raise the minimum wage,” he says.

The organisation has noticed an increase in those living below the poverty line – those earning less than 964 euros per month – as well as those in grave difficulty, who earn less than 500 euros per month.

As winter approaches, concerns of homelessness are obviously hightened. Soulage says: "When you don't have a roof over your head, you can't rebuild your life." 

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