Cachan, July 2006.

An abandoned housing block on a university campus has turned into the largest squat in France. Up to one thousand individuals live in student lodgings, in that five-story high building dating back to the sixties.

Right in the centre of that students’ hall of residence, the F block has become a small village housing some thirty nationalities, most of them from Mali, the Ivory Coast and Senegal.

The « One-thousand squat » has grown into a temporary shelter for illegal immigrants and for families in hopeless situations. People whose status is legal as regard to the law are on a waiting list for a low-rent apartment or unable to rent one for lack of a sufficient income.

On August 17th, 2006, the riot police is ordered to clear the building. The inmates are chucked out. On the following day, about 200 people find shelter in a city gymnasium. They refuse to leave it unless they are awarded a staying permit and permanent lodging.

That incident, taking place ten years to the day after the much publicized evacuation from the Saint Bernard Church will bring to light question of insufficient housing facilities.

After long negotiations, most of the former squatters will, at last, be awarded permanent lodgings and a permanent staying permit.

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