On Sunday, a 34-year-old homeless man was found dead in Pau. Like him, several hundred homeless people - at least - have died on the streets since the start of the year.
In the middle of the summer season, the streets are deserted, aid associations sometimes is short, and one cannot imagine that the "beautiful season" is a severe difficulty for the homeless.
The population concerned is however as numerous - or even more: with the end of the winter break, in spring, a number of people protected during the coldest months suddenly find themselves on the street.
Delicate figures. It is difficult to know how many people are homeless in France. The last complete study on the subject dates back to 2012: according to INSEE, there were 141,500 people "homeless" - that is to say without accommodation, but mostly housed (hotels, reception centers , etc.), of which 9%, or approximately 13,000 people, are "homeless".
These 13,000 homeless people slept on the street, in makeshift accommodation (tent, hut, cave ...), in their car or in a public place.
Today, an estimated 200,000 people are homeless in France, including a quarter of minors.
According to the Abbé-Pierre Foundation, in 2018, 896,000 people did not have personal accommodation. Among them, 643,000 were staying with a third party (friends, family ...). The remaining 253,000 were in solidarity accommodation, in makeshift housing or on the street.
If there is no reliable and universal data on the homeless population, one thing is certain: homeless people are extremely precarious: beyond poverty, there is little or no medical care, constant lack of hygiene, high exposure to weather conditions - whatever they are -, difficulty in accessing food, water ...
Contrary to popular belief, homeless people do not die more in summer than in winter - nor more in winter than in summer: "Mortality occurs at the same times as in the general population. Sometimes there is a peak in winter, due to illness, extreme cold. Sometimes it is summer, if there is a heat wave. But we have not observed any excess mortality linked to this or that season. It is not the season that kills: it is the street ", recalls Cécile Rocca, coordinator of the collective" Les Morts de la rue ".
On the other hand, one dies there (very) young: on average at 49 years, against 80 for the general population. With amplified causes of death: addictions, illness, but also murders, accidents, suicides ... Children, who are more fragile, are very exposed: in 2019, several babies as young as a few days old died on the street.