Travelers: alert on the lack of places and accommodation available


Aline La Fleur in front of her house built on the land previously occupied by her mobile home, in Blanquefort (Gironde), on May 11, 2023.

In the heart of the Pessac-Léognan vineyard, in Bordeaux, the small pine forest looks like the end of the world: about fifteen people live in old caravans and vans, without running water or electricity, near piles of rubble. And has been for years.

Michel (he wished to remain anonymous), 41, grew up there and returned there, for lack of another place to settle. He must take his car to fill the jerrycans with water in the square of the neighboring village, Castres-Gironde (Gironde). Spending fuel to run his generator. “Nobody wants to live the way we live. We are told: “We are going to make a plot for you”. How many years has it been?asks this scrap metal and seasonal, bitter. The children go to school, we try to integrate into this world, and no one accepts us. » He worries about his blind mother, who lives in the neighboring caravan. And the effects on the health of his children of a big tire fire, which occurred a few years ago on the nearby Chemin des Limites, which became a wild dump for more than a kilometer.

This situation is not uncommon: in a note made public on Saturday May 13, the National Federation of Solidarity Associations for Action with Gypsies and Travelers (Fnasat-GV) points “the lack of implementation, monitoring and evaluation of public policies for the reception and housing of Travelers”.

According to a latest survey carried out in 2017, Fnasat-GV estimates that more than 208,000 people living in caravans need dignified and secure housing. Installation on private, loaned, rented or purchased land is now prohibited in the local urban plans of almost all municipalities. And due to a lack of political will and allocated resources, there are only 2,070 adapted social housing units, ie equipped with a place for the caravan; and 1,300 to 1,600 places in rental family plots, where each pitch, planned for one to six mobile homes, offers a living room-kitchen as well as hard sanitary facilities. “But these are expensive, since except in a few departments, their tenants cannot receive personalized housing assistance”explains Clément Larhantec, head of the Fnasat-GV habitat division.

“We cannot accept such living conditions”

For lack of a solution, many families live almost permanently in the reception areas, normally intended for short stays. Wishing to fight against illegal parking, the State and the departments had set themselves the objective of creating 43,000 places in reception areas. Only 26,000 have seen the light of day, laments Fnasat-GV. “These areas are, for the most part, far from services and relegated outside residential areas, and 38% are located close to environmental and industrial risks and nuisances”, underlines the note. The objectives of creating places, already insufficient, have since been reduced by 25%, calculated the Fnasat-GV. And even reduced, they are not required.

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