Access to drinking water and hygiene on precarious sites in metropolitan France
300,000 homeless people
4,118,000 poorly housed people (source FAP)
413 slums in metropolitan France
8,091 people helped


In France, according to the Abbé Pierre Foundation's 26th report on poor housing, 300,000 people are homeless and 4,118,000 people are poorly housed.

Official figures in January 2020 show 19,237 people living in 413 slums spread over 38 departments in metropolitan France, as well as 208,000 “travelers” with poor housing conditions or without access to a furnished place.

These individuals in a very precarious situation and without adequate housing suffer from unequal access to health services, water and sanitation, and a balanced diet. They are particularly threatened by epidemics such as COVID-19.

In mainland France, 1.4 million French people, or 2.1% of the population, do not have access to safely managed drinking water, and only have access to basic services (Report of the Joint Monitoring Program 2019, WHO/UNICEF).

The use of unsuitable solutions (opening of fire hydrants), expensive solutions  (purchasing of bottled water) or even dangerous solutions (uncontrolled connection to a point in the network, leading to the risk of leaks and contamination of the water consumed) expose the population to health and legal risks which aggravate their isolation and their life difficulties.

  • 67 million inhabitants
  • 14.8% poverty rate
  • 37% out of 189 on the Human Development Index

Our action

  • Mission
    opened in 2020 (re-opening)
  • Team 5 national staff
  • Budget 189 000€

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL responds to the COVID 19 health crisis in five territories in France. Our projects target people living in degraded housing sites such as slums, camps, or squats, and who have limited access to basic services in terms of drinking water, sanitation, and access to hygiene products and basic necessities. During this health crisis, “unconnected” people are more vulnerable than ever, and in need of access to these Water, Hygiene and Sanitation services in order to be able to apply barrier gestures and improve their living conditions.

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL operates in 4 different areas in France: in Île de France, in the metropolitan areas of Nantes and Toulouse, and in Hauts de France.


Results in numbers:

  • 11 water point installed in 4 sites
  • 1,312 hygiene kits distributed

In Île de France, in March 2020 during the full spread of the Covid-19 virus, Solidarités International teams cooperated again with Médecins du Monde in several slums in Saint-Denis, Drancy, Aubervilliers and Stains. In these precarious sites, access to water and sanitation is almost non-existent, and the overcrowded conditions raise fears of a rapid spread of the virus.

Once the extent of these individual’s needs were assessed, soap, hygiene kits, and baby kits were distributed, and temporary access to water was additionally  installed in several slums so that the inhabitants can live in safe conditions, and can better apply preventive measures including hand washing. In April and May, 8 sites were connected to drinking water, benefiting 412 households. Finally, during the summer of 2020, all 22 sites in the Val d’Oise department were assessed, and 230 families received handwashing kits.


Results in numbers:

  • 25 water points installed in 20 sites
  • 6 multi-family toilets
  • 968 hygiene kits distributed

In the metropolis of Nantes, action was taken to connect 11 slum-type sites to drinking water, which benefited 277 households in June 2020. In addition, distributions of kits for the storage of drinking water and handwashing took place in all the sites of the metropolis (49 slums) for 968 households.


Results in numbers:

  • 10 water points installed in 7 sites
  • 430 hygiene kits distributed

Diagnostic work highlighted 14 vulnerable sites in June 2020. Solidarités teams worked in 10 sites with no connection to the metropolitan water network, and hygiene kits for hand washing were distributed to a total of 273 households.

Hauts de France

Results in numbers:

  • 16 water points installed in 10 sites
  • 300 hygiene kits distributed

Solidarités International operates in two areas of Hauts de France:

  • Coastline area

In 2015 in Calais, teams from SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL worked in conjunction with Médecins du monde in “the Jungle” to provide refugees with dignified access to drinking water, as well as hygiene and sanitation resources. The mission was closed in November 2015 after the NGO Médecins sans Frontières gradually took over the areas of intervention of Water, Hygiene and Sanitation.

In 2020, new diagnoses were carried out in the Littoral zone: Calais and Grande Synthe. Discussions are underway with town halls and associations to find solutions to water accessibility.

  • Métropolis of Lille (MEL)

A diagnosis of precarious housing sites in the metropolis of Lille was carried out in September 2020, negotiations with the competent authorities are underway.


Médecins du Monde, Fondation Veolia, Aquassistance, ACINA, Quatorze, Romeurope, Coalition EAU, ACF (coordination)

Our impact

water sanitation

Water, sanitation and hygiene

5 380 beneficiaries

– Water supply: 29 sites were connected to drinking water
– Reinforcement of the implementation of preventive measures at COVID-19

Should you have any questions, please contact Emmanuel Rinck

Emmanuel Rinck


At head office