Asylum in France: What about housing?

Crédit photo : ci-dessus par Alex Gruber/Unsplash.

Quelles sont les propositions qui vous seront faites ?  Les difficultés ? Précisions et conseils d’avocats.

During the interview with the OFII officer (French Office for Immigration and Integration), it is this latter who should make you a housing proposal. Prior to that, he/she checks the national vacancy chart at the reception centers for asylum seekers. These centers, in France, are called CADA and pronounced “KADA”. This is a word you will often come across while seeking asylum.

If there is no place in CADA, as is often the case, OFFI can offer you an emergency shelter for asylum seekers. This can be offered at either an Asylum Seeker Emergency Shelter (HUDA), at a Reception and Guidance Center (CAO), or at an Asylum Seeker Reception and Housing Program (PRADHA).

Housing in France, what do you need to know?

Keep in mind that this is a very important period (as it is difficult) while you seek asylum in France. Important because housing is something vital for everyone, let alone when you are a lonely stranger in another country. Difficult because the French state has been facing for years now major obstacles in accommodating migrants, even when asylum seekers1. Numerous associations have denounced not only the long waiting periods until a room is provided (even in the cases of families with young children), but also its condition. Even worse; the frequent absence of these shelters, a problem widely known by OFII and often talked about in the French media.

If OFII does not offer you accommodation, the officer will advise you to return to the association where you pre-registered your asylum application, so that it can give you guidance. The latter does not have much on hand about accommodation and will normally either call for you the number 115 or advise you to call it yourself. This number means a service that provides you with a place to spend the night (always, if any free). You need to get out early in the morning and stay out during the day. Again, throughout the day, you need to call 115 in order to find a place to spend the night. And it goes so, on and on, every day.

La couverture de ces services se poursuit tant que vous êtes dans la procédure d’asile et, généralement, si vous recevez une réponse positive.

So, if you can, seek asylum near an area where you have relatives, acquaintances, or friends who are already well-sheltered and can give you a helping hand during this very difficult time. If these acquaintances are housed in immigration centers, they will be unable to assist you at this point because the regulations of these centers do not allow the accommodation of others not registered in the center. Visits are also limited and well-regulated.

When housing is provided

Of course, it is also possible that accommodation is found for you immediately. In this case, you will be sent to a center. Despite the differences between the different types of accommodation centers for asylum seekers, the services offered are generally the same: The rent is paid. You will be assigned a social worker with whom you will meet regularly and with whom you can talk about your needs. You will be offered education for children, health coverage, payment of water and energy bills. The coverage of these services continues if you are in the asylum procedure and, usually, if you receive an approval response to this request. If you receive a negative response, it is likely that most or all these services will be denied to you.


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References:                                                                                                                                       

1 Le Monde, (janvier 2020). Réfugiés : l’Ile-de-France concentre les problèmes de logement

https://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2020/01/28/refugies-l-ile-de-france-concentre-les-problemes-de-logement_6027488_3224.html

This article is produced as part of the “Migration, Youth and Internet” project. It is written by Elda Spaho Bleta, volunteer of the local group Oxfam in Nancy, who paid close attention to the information given. The sources of the information are cited, and when personal advice is given, it is the sole responsibility of the editor. If, despite her attention, an error had slipped into the document, please report it to her by writing to [email protected] This article is published with the funds of the French Development Agency, Grand Est Solidarités et Coopérations pour le Développement (GESCOD), and with the support of Oxfam France. The content of the articles does not engage the structures previously named.

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