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Thread: France to create 'legal right' to housing

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    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
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    Default France to create 'legal right' to housing

    by Emma Charlton Wed Jan 3, 1:42 PM ET

    PARIS (AFP) - The French government announced plans to create a "legal right" to housing in response to a snowballing campaign that has seen a tent city for the homeless spring up in the heart of Paris.

    Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told a press conference a bill would be presented to the cabinet on January 17 and hopefully adopted before parliament breaks up ahead of April's presidential election.
    The law, if passed, would make France the second European country to guarantee the right to housing, after Scotland which adopted similar measures with its 2003 Homeless Act.
    President Jacques Chirac used his New Year's address to promise swift government action on a "right to housing" -- a key demand of protestors who have mounted a headline-grabbing campaign in support of France's estimated 100,000 homeless.
    Villepin said the government wanted the right to become legally enforceable by 2008 for "people in the most difficult situations: the homeless, but also the working poor and single women with children."
    "That is the time necessary to ensure that all the people concerned can be provided with decent lodgings, whether in a transitional shelter or an individual home," he said.
    By 2012, the government wants the right to housing to be legally enforceable for all, with a guarantee provided by the state, or in some cases regional or local authorities.
    From that point onwards, "every person or family housed in unworthy or unsanitary conditions" will able to take legal action to have their rights enforced, he said.
    Villepin said the law would "make France one of the most advanced countries in terms of social rights". Housing would become the third legally enforceable right in France, along with access to education and healthcare.
    Four months ahead of presidential elections, with the homeless issue thrust centre-stage, the housing measure was seen as a bid by the centre-right to underscore its commitment to social justice.
    The protest wave started last month when a small group of campaigners -- called Les Enfants de Don Quichotte ("The Children of Don Quixote") -- pitched a 200-strong tent camp along a trendy Paris canal, housing homeless people as well as well-heeled citizens prepared to sleep rough for a few days out of solidarity.
    Makeshift camps have since sprung up all over France, including in the Mediterranean port of Marseille, the historic town of Orleans, and the southern cities of Lyon and Toulouse.
    On Tuesday a group of eight struggling families, backed by campaigners, moved into a vacant office block near the Paris stock exchange, a giant squat they have dubbed a "ministry" for the homeless and ill-housed.
    Politicians of all stripes -- including presidential frontrunners Nicolas Sarkozy on the right and Segolene Royal on the left -- had responded on cue, lining up with pledges to tackle the plight of the homeless.
    According to the charity Emmaus, one million people in France do not have a home of their own: 100,000 sleep rough, while the rest live in campsites, hotels or shelters. Another two million people have housing "problems".
    The "right to housing" measures come in addition to a 70-million-euro (90-million-dollar) emergency plan for the homeless announced last month.
    But a spokesman for Segolene Royal, the Socialist presidential frontrunner, warned the government against making "great announcements", saying what was needed was a massive commitment to build more public housing.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070103...s_070103183244

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Commies! Pinkos! Socialists!

    Those homeless people just need to try harder and get jobs and stop being so lazy!
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
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    You know, i have no idea what to say to this. It definately seems like progress, but I'd almost think that people should also stop reproducing. It's probably a smart move, but what happens, is there ever "overpopulation"? That could cause worse policy- making, if that ever became the case of politcal agengas, then. I guess we just adapt over time. I'm not familar with socialist thought, but it almost seems like the right thing to do.
    Last edited by JamieElizabeth; January 4th, 2007 at 11:20 PM.

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    Elite Member crumpet's Avatar
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    The idea that you have a right to be taken care of just because you breathe doesn't sit well with me. I'm not speaking of mentally ill and handicapped people, but we all personally know (and may be related to) slackers who leech of of the hard work and sacrifices of others and it takes a lot of nerve for them to think they should have what I work hard for.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    It ought to be a temporary solution.. you dont want people living on the streets, nor do you want them leeching.

    I say give them the housing, control their bank accounts and give them job training so they can be self sustaining. When they make enough to move the hell out, out they should go.

    Voila. Productive member of society.

    If they don't do any of that, out they go in 3 months.
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    There's gonna be shitloads of lazy people who just don't want to work though...

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Well then they dont get housing.
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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    It says housing, not utilities. I'm rather behind the anti-homeless initiative, but there are a lot of problems re legal enforcement. I was very near homeless once so I know how easily working people can lose everything, but I just can't see the taxpayer supporting lots of just lazy people indefinitely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamieElizabeth View Post
    Villepin said the government wanted the right to become legally enforceable by 2008 for "people in the most difficult situations: the homeless, but also the working poor and single women with children."
    "That is the time necessary to ensure that all the people concerned can be provided with decent lodgings, whether in a transitional shelter or an individual home," he said.
    By 2012, the government wants the right to housing to be legally enforceable for all, with a guarantee provided by the state, or in some cases regional or local authorities.
    From that point onwards, "every person or family housed in unworthy or unsanitary conditions" will able to take legal action to have their rights enforced, he said.
    What I get from that is they want to ensure the homeless, working poor & single mothers get mandatory housing and that those who get housing can then sue if that housing isn't worthy or sanitary. No mention of the lazy, unemployed or disabled

    It also says that the housing could just be a transitional shelter which in my opinion is more than adequate for the lazy.

    On one hand I applaud them for taking the initiative to aid those who need a helping hand. On the other I shudder at the possibilities this gives those who are always looking to exploit these helping hands. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Do you turn your back on those who need help to spite those who don't (ie. the lazy)?

    The area where I live is woefully inadequate in terms of affordable housing. Unless you earn a minimum of $30,000 (and spend at least 50% of that on housing) you end up living in slumville using 75%-90% of your earnings for the privilege (and that doesn't include the 'luxuries' of groceries, etc). There would be parties in the street if this law ever came into effect in my city.

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