(ENG) Paris / Fire in the 11th District



Paris October 18

110 people, half of who are children, in the street after the fire at 5 rue Godefroy Cavaignac, Paris, 11th district (Metro Charonne) First night on the sidewalk

Around fifty people, the majority of who are adults and who are living at 5 rue de Godeforoy Cavaignac, Paris, in the 11th District, have been sleeping on the sidewalk tonight, following a fire in the stairwell, which broke out Thursday morning.

There was a strong sense of solidarity in the neighbourhood: children were taken in by the inhabitants and the parents of the children’s classmates, in solidarity. All night, the neighbours took turns bringing blankets, sleeping bags and hot drinks. After setting up tarps on the sidewalk, the police stopped people from setting up mattresses. During the evening, the Red Cross arrived, and supplied people with emergency blankets and hot drinks. On the request of AL, a delegation to City Hall, at the end of the morning.

A fire in a baby carriage at the floor of the stairwell, was the cause of the fire that left two people with minor injuries, one who is still in hospital. The occupants, most of who were “squatters by necessity”, moved in because they had no other housing options for years since 1999. The firefighters evacuated the inhabitants together, through two of the stairwells. The authorities assured people on Thursday that they could re-enter the part that had not been affected by the fire on Thursday, at least through the safe stairwell.

Many of them had received a proposal of a hotel stay during the day, but were worried about being dispersed in the hotels, and then afterward to experience displacement and vagrancy. Like the families camped outside the stock exchance, they decided to stay in front of the building until they could re-enter, or were offered housing.

The inhabitants of this building have a job, have their papers or are French citizens, and have applied for social housing.

This squalid building, belonging to a real estate company, should be acquired by the SIEMP (Société immobilière d’économie mixte de la Ville de Paris, a social housing agency), during the next few weeks, and be turned into social housing. Within this framework, the occupants would have the right to rehousing. According to a survey, the building could house 18 families with 60 children, 2 couples without children and 13 single people.

Right to Housing and the CDSL (Homeless Committee) give their support to the families affected by the fire and demand, along with them, the re-entry into the housing that has not been affected to the fire, and are waiting for them to be re-housed as soon as possible.

Housing is a right!