This project carried out by Sister Danièle in Paris underlines the difficulty for homeless people to have access to basic needs such as hygiene, especially in this period of health crisis.
According to a survey by the French Red Cross, only 15% of the homeless can afford a daily shower in "normal" times and almost 50% of them do not have the necessary hygiene products for their toilet.
Every homeless person should have easy access to care and hygiene to help them become aware of their dignity and regain confidence in their ability to reintegrate.
Created in 2013, the Association "DePaul France" is located in the premises of the Daughters of Charity 41 Rue des Périchaux in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, a long underprivileged district where the sisters have been present since the end of the 19th century.
The association offers homeless people various hygiene services (showers, laundry, emergency cloakroom) supplemented by health monitoring (permanent nursing staff, a doctor on occasion, a chiropodist) as a starting point to encourage people to leave the street and reintegrate into society.
About forty volunteers, including 8 Daughters of Charity, welcome, advise and support these people in need of hygiene but also of social contact.
The current conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic are particularly difficult for isolated elderly people, the homeless, isolated minors, migrants... In addition to the physical and emotional loneliness, there is also the anguish, nervousness and loss of bearings that this situation generates. Women are even more vulnerable, often victims of aggression.
While the basic hygiene products essential to daily life are already inaccessible or even impossible for the smallest budgets, how to take a shower, how to wash your clothes, how to benefit from minor care when you are living on the street? And that many care structures have been forced to completely or partially stop their activity?
Although DePaul has had to interrupt the "mobile shower" service that used to criss-cross the neighbourhoods, it continues to welcome these people in search of hygiene by respecting the recommended social distance conditions and disinfecting after each visit.
The volunteer teams are currently working with fewer people, but the demand for laundry and other services continues and requires faster drying.
All too often saturated, the day centre is nevertheless forced to limit the number of laundry services due to the lack of sufficient time for drying during normal opening hours and to avoid users waiting too long for their clean laundry.
The laundry service offered by the DePaul association meets a fundamental need for hygiene, not only today for those on the street during this period of confinement, but also soon when users return in large numbers as soon as the confinement is lifted.
For the moment, only a dozen or so washes are allowed per opening day because of the confinement, whereas the needs are much greater.
An additional tumble dryer will therefore allow an efficient increase in service while limiting the risks of spreading the virus.
This project to purchase a tumble dryer is a one-off response to a real and ongoing need, and it is being exacerbated at this very moment by the Coronavirus epidemic.
Sister Danièle and the DePaul teams call upon our solidarity so that, thanks to this semi-industrial dryer, a fast and efficient service can be assured, even after the confinement. It will then suffice to increase the power available in the room.
After the delivery and installation of this new machine, users will wait less time for their laundry and will be able to do extra laundry within a week if necessary. New users will also be welcomed and volunteers will be able to more easily apply the rules of social distancing without diminishing the services offered.
Many of these people living in great precariousness are aware of the importance of their health and hygiene in order to be able to get by.
The Perichaux Centre was able to welcome more than 6,200 people last year and more than 1,600 people since the beginning of 2020.
Hygiene being one of the conditions to find or keep any activity, it is almost impossible for these people to claim a reinsertion without daily access to a shower, the possibility to shave, to brush their teeth, and to have clean linen.
After their time at DePaul's, you can hear:
"You saved me, the laundry's done, my feet are as good as new, and the day is just beginning! " (Reza)
"When I arrive, I'm not well, when I leave, I'm better! "(Medhi)
"When I come out of your reception, I feel clean and dignified. It makes me want to live. "(Stéphane)
Or: "Thank you, you saved me! I was letting myself go... »
These people usually live on the streets. Because of the epidemic, some of them are currently being cared for on an ad hoc basis in various structures set up by the public authorities. For the most vulnerable people, the association has decided to lodge them in hotels and to cover the cost of their accommodation, which is not done in ordinary times and causes expenses that are not budgeted for 2020.
Additional donations, if any, will help us to cover these costs.
By participating in this project, you are helping a homeless person to maintain their hygiene so that they can reintegrate into society.
Thank you for your support to Sister Danièle and the DePaul teams, all of whom are committed to respecting the people they accompany on a daily basis.
Je suis Sœur Danièle Kogel de la province Belgique France Suisse. Fille de la Charité depuis 50 ans, je suis plus particulièrement engagée auprès des personnes en situation de grande précarité, en Ile de France et notamment ces dernières années à Paris, auprès des personnes qui vivent à la rue. Cet engagement m’a conduite à être bénévole au sein de l’Association loi 1901 « de Paul France » car j’ai toujours travaillé avec des associations de laïcs.
Je vis actuellement dans une communauté de 3 sœurs, dans une maison située au cœur de Paris, dont la fondation remonte au temps de St Vincent. Dans cette maison, outre la communauté, il y a une école, un collège et des locataires. Nous nous efforçons de sensibiliser ces personnes à la réalité de ce que vivent les sans-abri de Paris. Ainsi l’école et le collège organisent régulièrement des collectes de produits d’hygiène et de tee-shirts pour les usagers de De Paul. Certains locataires font des dons (lessive, briquets…) Tous sont associés aux engagements de la communauté.
(soit 6,80€ après déduction fiscale)
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(soit 17€ après déduction fiscale)
Un grand merci sur nos réseaux sociaux + un mail descriptif quand le projet sera terminé !