FRANCE: homelessness – the Council of State rejects requests from associations attacking the state’s shortcomings

Article originally published in French on LDH website, 3 April 2020 – accessible here

Joint statement

Faced with the shortcomings of the State in protecting the most vulnerable people on the street or those in inadequate housing, nine associations urgently referred the matter to the Council of State. On Thursday 2 April, the Council of State rejected the referral of Fédération nationale droit au logement, Ligue des droits de l’Homme, association Élu/es contre les violences faites aux femmes, Utopia 56, Droits d’Urgence, Gisti, l’Action chrétienne contre la torture and association KÂLÎ.

This referral was made possible thanks to the invaluable support of the national inter-associative network which works daily in the field to ensure that the measures essential for the protection of the most vulnerable people are taken as a matter of urgency.

This request was aimed in particular at the confiscation of vacant furnished tourist rental apartments and hotel rooms, as well as the protection of supervising personnel through access to masks, hydro-alcoholic gel, gloves and gowns.

After giving the Government 48 hours to reply to the queries, the Council of State considered that no serious and manifestly unlawful violation of the right to life and to protection of the physical and psychological integrity of homeless persons had been committed as a result of the measures already adopted by the State, namely the increase in the number of places, the requisition of gymnasiums, the postponement of the winter truce, etc. The Council of State also considered that the right to life and the protection of the physical and psychological integrity of homeless persons had not been violated. It had therefore not considered the arguments put forward by the associations, nor the numerous testimonies from all over France, and thus supported the State’s shortcomings.

This decision leaves tens of thousands of vulnerable people in danger and unable to confine themselves properly to protect themselves.

However, the Council of State notes that the government :

  • gave instructions on 31 March (after the hearing) that no more fines should be imposed on the homeless;
  • states that gymnasium accommodation “is intended to retain only a subsidiary role through the ongoing increase in accommodation capacity in hotels or tourist centres, and even through requisitioning if necessary”.

We are now waiting for the government to take action and allow people in need to have access to individual housing without opening gymnasiums but by requisitioning the many empty homes, which we believe remains the only dignified and fair solution.

We would like to thank Maitre Lorraine Questiaux and Maitre Régis Froger who have brought this request with no charge and who have done an intensive work.

A roof is a right!

(Translated with