Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to open the capital’s city halls to the homeless during the winter.
Even the palatial Hotel de Ville, housing the local administration in the city center, will open up space for up to 100 homeless women to receive food and shelter, she said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper on Sunday.
Two ornate rooms on the ground floor with columns, vaults and marble floors that are used as exhibition and reception areas will be converted instead to provide meals, beds and sanitary areas, she said.
Hidalgo called for a “general mobilization” to house an estimated 3,000 homeless people living on the frigid streets during the winter, adding that the city should lead by example.
“We must all roll up our sleeves. In particular, I invite companies that have unoccupied premises to make them available,” she told the paper.
She intends to have 1,500 places for the homeless by the end of the year and hopes the state will take care of the other half.
Other places the city will utilize to house the homeless include vacant municipal buildings and spaces as well as district town halls. The mayor will also open small mobile shelters around the city.
In February, Paris conducted its first homeless census and found at least 3,000 people were sleeping on the streets.
The so-called Solidarity Night involved hundreds of volunteers and officials taking to the streets to count the number of homeless. The actual number of homeless is believed to be higher.
Hidalgo said another such census would be conducted in February.