PARIS (Reuters) – Homeless people in Paris are increasingly relying on charities for food, clothing and daily necessities as the city’s empty streets during the coronavirus lockdown have meant less alms for those in need.
France has extended until May 11 a virtual lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak that has killed nearly 18,000 people. While most of France’s 67 million people are staying in their homes, the homeless are also trying to respect the rules.
“They (the homeless) are confined to their cardboard boxes, in their corner. They respect, well, the ones we know, they respect the confinement in their own way,” Celine Mendak at the Goelette charity group told Reuters.
The French capital has more than 3,600 homeless people.
Since the start of the lockdown a month ago, Goelette’s workers have been collecting food almost daily, loading up trolley bags and then walking through the city centre.
They stop to chat with some of the homeless camping out on the sides of boulevards and offer them necessities.
Erwan, a homeless man who only gave his first name, told Reuters that even though the money he received on the streets had halved during the lockdown, he enjoyed the conversations with Parisians.
“I’ve seen people on the street who ignored me and look down their noses, and since the lockdown, they stop to talk to me and so, it’s really nice,” he said.
(Reporting by Yiming Woo; Writing by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Mark Heinrich)