Sunday, February 14, 2010

Homeless In Paris

On Valentine's Day, I had the honor of spending a few moments with Homeless Teenagers. Teens who are on the streets because of abuse, mental disorders, disowned by their families, etc. We all have our opinions about why someone ends up on the street. You don't really understand the reality of it until you ask!

Teens are stuck in the middle. They are not adults and therefore the help they get is so extremely limited. They cannot enter an adult shelter because they need parental consent. Well, what if that parent is developing Meth in the house or sexually abused the child? Is that the consent we are seeking? Would they even have the correct judgement to make when it comes to their child's well being? What these kids need is people who will step up and aid them in becoming functioning adults with jobs and a stable mindset.

The only thing that they all requested were sleeping bags. A softer and warmer place to sleep than the city concrete.

It had me questioning what the Homeless situation is in Paris? Do they have a better set up for the homeless population? Does this problem even exist in my city of dreams? The answer is a resounding "yes".

I came across various articles (click here to read one) from 4 years ago when the Medecins du Monde handed out 300 tents for the homeless to set up along the Canal Saint-Martin, Paris to draw attention. It worked! The effort shamed officials into spending more of their budget on creating hostel beds for the homeless. The tents diminished the breathtaking Parisian views and they wanted to resolve the problem swiftly. What has happened since? I am uncertain.

I would love to hear from my Parisian friends on the current status. Is it quite evident? Did the government step forward? Did it all fall through the cracks? What was the end result?

As for me, today really opened my eyes to a real travesty in my country, the USA. I cannot comprehend the lack of assistance for these Teens that already have enough to deal with just being their age. They need us to put our judgements aside and educate them about sound choices in life.VKU5F8D3G63E

1 comment:

Peter said...

Although I believe that France can be considered to be a country with a comparatively good social welfare, we have unfortunately similar problems also in France. There are some rights to get some social survival minima from the State, but not everybody seems to get or even apply for it. In any case this will hardly give you the rights to a decent life. Then we have a large number of immigrants without any legal rights. Several voluntary organsiations have still a lot of work to do. ... and the winter has been (is) cold!