Économie et Statistique n° 391-392 - 2006The Homeless
A hidden form of poverty: people with housing who use hot meal distribution services
The survey of the people who frequently use homeless shelters or hot meal distribution services, in addition to providing more information about the homeless people who use these services, reveals that people with housing also use the hot meal distribution service. This is a «hidden» form of serious poverty. Some of these people used to be homeless and although they have found housing, they have not been able to escape poverty. A physical or mental handicap could be the reason for their poverty, making it more difficult for them to enter, or removing them completely from, the labour market. This was the situation of many of the people interviewed, for example, the construction workers who had had industrial accidents and had sometimes not declared them. Yet, once their handicap is declared, they are guaranteed relative protection and a regular, although low, income, preventing them from becoming homeless. Despite their higher incomes, generally from the receipt of benefits, these people, who are often elderly, live in isolation and are limited by their financial resources to poor quality housing. The financial aid from different organisations and private individuals is essential for many to compensate in part their poor housing conditions and their low incomes. Visiting day centres and using hot meal distribution services also has a social function, allowing them to have some social contact.