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Contacter Dr J.-F. Corty I Directeur des opérations internationales

Homeless or poorly housed people

3,5 million

people live in inadequate housing


people are homeless

5 million

people are made vulnerable by their housing situation


A direct impact on health

While specific circumstances may vary, life on the street or in substandard housing has a direct influence on people’s health. Poor living conditions lead in the first instance to environment-related illnesses, violence and mental health problems. In addition, access to healthcare and human rights are also put at risk by these kinds of inadequate living conditions.

Its an obligation for local authorities to provide homes for those without them.

Legislation – bold but ineffective 

In 2007 a major step forward was made in housing law with the adoption of the DALO Act (enforceable right to housing), which introduced an obligation for local authorities to provide homes for those without them. Nevertheless, there are still large numbers of people in France who are homeless or living in poor housing. As many as 72% of patients attending our healthcare and advice clinics (CASOs) report that they have housing problems. The measures planned by the public authorities in 2014 do promise improvements, but they are not sufficiently ambitious to respond effectively to the needs of the most vulnerable. 

What we do

Since 1993, Doctors of the World has been using all the means at its disposal to combat the problems of poor housing.

Medical and social support

The Doctors of the World teams reach out to people who are homeless or in inadequate housing. We offer them medical and social consultations, provide them with information about their right to medical coverage and help them with administrative procedures. We also provide support through outreach teams, which go to the places where people are living, and offer medical consultations at shelters and day centres.

Awareness-raising and campaigning

Working effectively to combat illnesses linked to homelessness and poor housing requires the involvement of a range of actors from the medical, social and housing sectors. Doctors of the World works to alert and raise awareness among those concerned to ensure that they work together effectively. Through our campaigns, we show the effect of housing on health and demonstrate the problems experienced by people who are homeless or poorly housed in exercising their rights or accessing care. In addition to our work on the ground, we keep up pressure on institutions to provide suitable housing and accommodation.

Intervention location


Indian ocean

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