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LES ECHOS

Millennial And Homeless, In France

Young adults between 18 and 25 are an increasingly vulnerable population in France. Jobless and rejected by their families, they are finding themselves on the streets in disturbing numbers.

Living under a bridge in northern France
Living under a bridge in northern France
Florence Aubenas

VALENCE — "My name is Julio," a young man says to introduce himself. His two friends laugh. "It's not true," they say. "He's called Antony, like everybody else." Julio-Antony wears an engaging smile and a smart outfit, as if we were going for a drink in a trendy cafe here in Valence, in southeastern France. Julio-Antony would like to be a bodyguard. Or a sports coach. He hasn't made up his mind yet.

His two friends are jostling next to a car, trying to catch a bit of the engine's warmth. "You damn homeless," Julio-Antony says. The three of them met on the streets, which is where they live, even though they don't look like it. They put a lot of effort into hiding it.

When he found himself on the streets, Julio-Antony thought to himself, "Man, already?" He had seen homeless people before, "mostly on TV, very filthy ones who drank." He thought it could only happen to old people, or to "those who've failed, even salesmen," one of his companions explains. "Life hasn't even started for us, and we're already in this situation." They're 20 years old. "What do we do now?" asks Julio-Antony.

They are unfortunately not alone. From the city of Rochefort on the southwestern coast to Laon in the Aisne region, social workers are describing a growing vulnerable population in similar ways. They're clean, nice, often invisible — and hopelessly lost. "Kids who sometimes just fall onto the streets," a Paris caseworker says. The other day, in a homeless center, one of them asked him "where the Nutella was for breakfast."

In the northern Aisne region, for example, calls to the humanitarian emergency service SAMU shot from 835 to 1,233 in 2013. Most of the callers were from this frighteningly new demographic, young adults aged between 18 and 25.

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Ukrainian protestors stand at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to mark Vyshyvanka Day, an International day to celebrate Ukrainian heritage and traditions

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger.

👋 Guten Tag!*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia intensifies shelling in eastern Ukraine, Biden lands in South Korea, and a Mercedes becomes the most expensive car ever sold. Meanwhile, for German daily die Welt, Cosima Lutz explores the sizzling question of the skyrocketing price of cooking oils.

[*German]

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