Facing Homelessness in Paris
Bloomberg Associates and the City of Paris set out to capture data about the homeless population – from the numbers affected to where they sleep.
You count because you want to change. It’s not just an intellectual exercise. You want to feed that information into the collaborative network to spur new thinking about what it takes to get people off the street.
Linda Gibbs, Bloomberg Associates
Support Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations
- Homelessness Counts and Interventions
The City of Paris was facing a growing challenge of people living on the street, but they needed to know the magnitude of the problem in order to deploy the appropriate strategies and resources to effectively address it. The City reached out to Bloomberg Associates for help in developing a way to measure the growing urgency of homelessness and to engage city residents in the process and to engage them in developing solutions.
On the evening of February 15, 2018 Bloomberg Associates conducted its first “Night of Solidarity” with the City of Paris, a point-in-time count of the homeless population. More than 1,700 volunteers were mobilized, with 40 NGOs and several city agencies canvassing city streets to conduct surveys of people’s living situations in order to determine the causes of homelessness, and the magnitude of the issue. A second count, or “Night of Solidarity,” was organized on Feb. 7, 2019, extending the reach of the street count to include railway stations, metro stations, 15 emergency rooms, 15 hospitals, and several forests in partnership with other institutions (social housing, Paris’ public transportation company RATP, parking lots, companies, and more).
This point-in-time survey provided a count of the number of persons without shelter and asked them about their history, current needs and the adequacy of services, giving a clear snapshot of unmet needs and urgency. This information was used to inform Paris’ homeless action plan, “Pacte Parisian” and directly led to creation of additional shelter capacity and services, informed housing development, and generated more targeted solutions to tackle the homelessness.
An ongoing initiative, “The Solidarity Factory,” leveraged the citizen engagement generated by the count to offer several types of volunteer opportunities, from education on the reality of homelessness, workshops to generate innovative ideas, and volunteer training for those wanting to work directly in homeless service systems. “The Solidarity Factory” also provides information and training to combat stereotypes and preconceived notions, promotes projects that align with municipal priorities, connecting volunteers to service opportunities, and coordinating citywide service delivery to the homeless population, as well as arts and recreation.