The deaths of two homeless men in the Paris area have ignited controversy over the number of people sleeping on the streets of Paris. Temperatures hit below zero most days of this week which undoubtedly was a factor in the impact upon the allegedly 200,000 homeless people in France. The pressure group, Les Morts de la Rue, claim at least 200 people between 18-80 had died prematurely while sleeping rough in France in France this year. The group organized a tent city demonstration earlier in the week that was broken up by French police while the government claimed no homeless lives were facing threat of death. The French government’s embarrassment was accentuated when it was discovered that one of the most senior officials responsible for dealing with the homeless, Jean-Paul Bolufer, lived in a government subsidized apartment and paid only one-fourth the normal rent for such a living accommodation. He claimed to be the object of a “witch hunt” when Le Canard Enchaine revealed his situation and argued hundreds of other wealthy people lived in government subsidized houses.
A protest group, Les Enfants de Don Quichote, argues that of promised 27,000 new lodgings only 13,000 have ever been provided. The issue has become the subject of competing aspirants for the position of mayor of Paris with each claiming the other is indifferent to the plight of the homeless. This undoubtedly is a wonderful French Christmas story. It fits right in with the birth of Christ.