The housing file is always approached from the wrong end, that is to say through the statistics. Before looking at the figures, it is important to imagine human situations. Families, single mothers, children, the elderly, migrants. The crowded rooms, the bad sleep, the filth, the smells, the cold. The impossible end of the month, the bailiffs. The street. Only then can we begin to look at the latest report from the Abbé-Pierre Foundation, delivered as every year on February 1, the anniversary of the appeal in the winter of 1954. What do we read there? That there are 4.1 million poorly housed people. And that the number of homeless people is estimated at 330,000, more than double that of 2012. We can certainly be sorry for public policies that are short-sighted or too often incantatory. But this failure is not only that of successive governments. It is that of the entire national community. It seems that we suffer from a collective form of addiction. As if we took poor housing for a fact, a state of affairs against which nothing could be done. As if, for example, there were no more than 3 million vacant homes, including more than 100,000 directly habitable. As if it were impossible to direct the enormous amount of available savings more towards construction. When the Abbé-Pierre Foundation calls for “general mobilization”, it is not just a slogan: from individuals to associations, from professional donors to public authorities, everyone must act on their own scale. It is on this condition alone that France can hope one day to emerge from a form of culture of poor housing.
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