Last weekend, a group of refugee housing activists occupied a private residence in the western French city of Nantes to demand more housing for asylum seekers.
According to REMIX, individuals from Maison du Peuple (People’s House) took over an unoccupied residence near Grand-Blottereu Park in Nantes claiming they had no other option since French authorities didn’t respond to their concerns over the lack of temporary housing for refugees.
The residence has been unoccupied for over a year since the elderly owners of the property reside in a care home.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Maison du Peuple said the group had waited for weeks to receive a response from authorities. The group claimed that the situation has grown urgent, and they have seen “too many people die on the streets.”
Maison du Peuple accused authorities in Nantes of spending money on private security and anti-squatting devices that should have been spent to provide housing for the refugees and economic migrants in the city.
It claimed that it had no choice but to occupy the private home, arguing that it was “the only way for us to act and provide an answer to these families abandoned by the authorities.” According to REMIX, when Maison du Peuple occupied the residence on January 7, they installed two Syrian families and a family from the Congo into the elderly couple’s home.
The grandson of the homeowners told Ouest France that he has filed a complaint with the authorities over the squatters, calling it an “unacceptable, illegal situation.”
The grandson told the outlet that Maison du Peuple doesn’t have the right to supplant “public authorities and requisition housing.” He warned that the group will “unconsciously endanger the people” they are trying to house. He said while his family deplores that refugees are without housing, “force must remain with the law.”