Migrants camp out in parking garage in central Paris – video

Migrants camp out in parking garage in central Paris – video

Dozens of migrants have been staying for weeks in a parking garage near Paris's Arc de Triomphe. The garage was made available to the NGO helping migrants by a private individual.


There are still a large number of homeless migrants in Paris, and although the police regularly launch large-scale actions to eliminate the tent camps mostly set up in the north of Paris, a definitive solution to the problem is yet to be found. Didier Leschi, the head of the French Immigration and Integration Office (OFII), said that 75 per cent of the asylum seekers, about 1800 a month, are taken to accommodation centres in the countryside, Actu Orange writes. By contrast, Utopia 56, an NGO helping migrants, claims that since the tent camps in north-east Paris were dismantled, thousands of homeless migrants have been staying in Paris, occupying vacant buildings or trying to find other kinds of accommodation, the paper adds. Delphine Rouilleault, the leader of the NGO France terre d’asile (FTDA) said that her organisation has registered some 400 migrants living on the streets in the Paris area, but she added that this is a gross underestimate of the actual number.

Meanwhile, NGOs working to help the migrants are using every means at their disposal to house homeless migrants. Utopia 56 has found a rather unusual location for this, a parking garage, which is located in the heart of Paris, in the vicinity of the Arc de Triomphe.

Dozens of migrants, about 70, have been living for weeks in the parking garage, which was made available to the NGO by a private individual. Nikolai Posner, a staff member of Utopia 56, told the media that there is a political will today to render rough sleepers invisible and this is why the police periodically chase away homeless migrants staying in public spaces. If a problem is out of sight, it doesn’t exist, he added.

The migrants have made themselves at home in the parking lot: there is a kitchenette, two toilets, a few electrical outlets and a parking space that serves as a storage area for suitcases. Speaking to the crew, an immigrant said that they have a good place in the parking lot because they have a roof over their heads and they can drink hot coffee. A young man, whose wife is pregnant, told the reporter that he cannot live rough on the streets with his wife, remarking that it would be the duty of the French state to make efforts to accommodate the homeless. He added that babies are born on the streets and there are also many children living in the parking lot. In his opinion, the state should take care of homeless children because they will be part of French society and serve the country.

However, the homeless migrants taking refuge in the car park will not be able to stay for long, as Utopia 56 will have to empty the building in April.

Finding a solution to the migrant issue would not be complicated, because France has the necessary instruments and resources and there are always vacant properties that the authorities can seize and use to house homeless immigrants, opined Nikolai Posner from Utopia 56.



city-centre, france, homeless migrants, paris, parking, utopia 56