Helping improve the lives of the most excluded communities

Better medical care in the context of the reform of asylum-seekers and for families living on the street in Paris

  • woman with children association CASP
  • children group association CASP
  • little girl sitting on stairs - association CASP
  • waiting room - association CASP
I appreciate the CAFDA for its aid to foreigners who, like me, are seeking asylum in France. (...) and for helping me adapt successfully to French society by having relations with very generous French people.

Giorgi Z.

Location of Project Paris
Name of Association Centre d’Action Sociale Protestant

Issue / local context

Health prevention and access to care jointly form a major lever for promoting integration among families living precarious lives.

The families of asylum seekers supported by the CAFDA of the CASP have often had difficult life experiences in their country of origin and during their flight to seek asylum in France. Traumatic experiences that have a lasting impact on mental health, interrupted care schemes, the prevalence of diseases related to their country of origin, and more generally a lack of knowledge of the care schemes in their host country, along with language difficulties, and especially poor living conditions - all of these factors can endanger human health. Mostly accommodated in hotels by the SAMU Social, the families supported by the CAFDA lived without resources before the ADA (reception centers) were opened, under conditions that are ill-suited to family life. As the SAMU Social observatory study Enfams (Children and families without housing in Ile-de-France) reveals, living in hotels for these families tends to exacerbate their problems, and parents and children suffer from a worrying range of health problems including malnutrition, depression, and chronic illnesses that are not treated.

The families covered by the ESI families of the CASP operating in the streets of Paris are usually living precariously in makeshift accommodation, squats or other unsuitable sites (e.g. cars and telephone booths). Doomed to a life of wandering, their problems combine health issues, marginalization and poverty. Their living conditions and their habitat expose them to major health risks: Médecins du Monde has found that in slum areas, there are widespread problems ranging from respiratory and digestive, joint osteoarthritis, dermatological, dental and oral conditions. Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis have been observed in families living on the street, as well as other indicators such as low immunization rates for children, malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies. Access to healthcare is also impacted by a lack of access to social security support, language barriers, and a lack of understanding of how the French health system works. A nomadic life tends to push healthcare concerns into the background.

Program description

This project is part of the health and access to care actions developed by the CASP for these two populations. The medical center of the CAFDA and the healthcare division of the ESI Family now being built both offer medical checkups by volunteer doctors to provide an initial diagnosis, and targeted guidance to direct these people towards appropriate partners and common law care services.

It plans to provide support for new groups of people affected by poverty, such as families, unaccompanied children, and the elderly by reaching out to the most vulnerable categories.

The project's objectives

support the study of special needs in family-centric public health for those seeking asylum or living in extreme poverty on the street.

  1. Initiate and continue with the analysis of the target population so as to improve knowledge about their psychic and bodily health
  2. Disseminate and share the three-year analysis of changing public health needs for families by organizing a symposium
  3. Prepare a project to reorganize the Medical facility and adapt it to the new needs of the public, and design a new facility specially tailored to the needs of families living on the street
  4. Mediate between healthcare players and families who cannot speak French to ensure successful care journeys.