The City of Lights is a term that one would hope references the glittering fiasco of the Eiffel Tower, and not tent cities lit by trashcan fires.
Unfortunately, homelessness in Paris is at unfortunately steep levels, with an estimated 30,000 people living on the streets in the greater Paris metropolitan area. In the first ever official census this year, 3,000 homeless were counted on the streets of Paris though this number was likely a “serious underestimate.” Deputy mayor Bruno Julliard explained that, in counting the homeless population, “car parks were not taken into account and nor were the staircases of buildings, notably social housing,” nor did they open tents. Therefore, 3,000 only represents the number of homeless sleeping totally outside at night.
But one man is trying to change that. French engineer Geoffroy de Reynal has designed what he calls an “igloo” for les SDFs. Constructed from polyethylene foam and aluminum foil, the shelters use a person’s body heat to warm the igloo up to 15° C above the outside temperature. And though this is one small step towards fixing an enormous societal problem, it shows that hard work and sympathy for others can be an enormous facilitator of change in France and around the world.