EUROPE/FRANCE – For 15 years on the Seine "The fleuron Saint Jean" is a home for the homeless

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Paris (Agenzia Fides) - Transforming a barge in a shelter for the homeless was the goal of the project promoted 15 years ago by the Ordre de Malte France. After anchoring in Paris on the banks of the Seine, "Le Fleuron Saint Jean", the name of the boat, previously used to transport sand and coal, continues its mission of reception, encouraging psychological support and reintegration into society. For 365 days a year, the barge welcomes 50 men living in conditions of severe insecurity and accompanies them on a path of reintegration. The stay on board allows passengers to regain strength, both physical and psychological, helps them to define a life project. This boat is 38 meters long and has 25 cabins. In 2013 it gave shelter to 875 passengers.
They are assisted by 11 crew members: five night watchmen, two technical officers, an animator, a social assistant, the director and his deputy. The team then uses the support of 80 volunteers, who in turn deal with the soup kitchen and keep the passengers company. It was originally created to provide emergency shelter to people living in the street and since the end of October 2013, the maximum duration of stay has increased from 4 weeks to 3 months, renewable for up to six months. Social assistants accompany passengers in the administrative path so they learn to know their rights, to access to health care and to open a bank account. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 13/11/2014)