By Damon Mitchell • 15 May 2020 • 13:12
FRENCH politician, Ian Brossat, who is the councillor for Housing in Paris, has announced that for the 550,000 inhabitants who live in housing for disadvantaged people, there will be no risk of eviction this year for difficulties in paying rents.
Two months after the start of the health crisis and confinement, Brossat has also confirmed that there is a rent crisis. “The crisis is there. It is confirmed and it will most certainly last. We see a certain number of people with low incomes who will end up falling into precariousness, either because their income has decreased due to partial unemployment, they suffered a job loss, are on sick leave or their fixed-term contract was not renewed.”
Since March 15, 7,500 families (out of 200,000 social housing units in the city of Paris) have found themselves in arrears for the first time. This is a noticeable increase from a normal period.
Social landlords have forged a partnership with Civil Protection. More than 600 volunteers mobilized alongside the social landlord teams to telephone tenants in difficult economic situations. 44,000 tenants were contacted. This allowed them to bring up these difficulties in paying rents. For vulnerable people, this allowed arrangements to be made to set up meal deliveries.
In France, there is a winter break in rent that usually applies from November 1 to the end of March. The government has decided to extend it twice, a first time until May 31 and now until July 10, according to a recent announcement from the Ministry of Housing. It’s good, but not enough.
The fear is to have many families who would find themselves under the threat of eviction or on the streets in the middle of summer. This is why the three Parisian social landlord associations have chosen to extend this winter break until next October. This will allow us to bridge the gap with the next truce and have a clean year.
This concerns tenants who, for reasons related to a drop in income, are unable to pay their rent.
However, social landlords need to continue to receive rents and have regular inflows. It is with this money that they maintain buildings and build new social housing. “This is why we have chosen a staggering which can be very progressive: families will be able to pay very small sums while waiting for their situation to improve. And the range of possibilities offered to find a solution are numerous, with a staggering which can go beyond a year,” said Brossat.
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