Coronavirus: help is urgently needed for low-income families “if tomorrow we want to prevent these people from going to loot stores”, warns a collective

Coronavirus: help is urgently needed for low-income families “if tomorrow we want to prevent these people from going to loot stores”, warns a collective

The collective Pas sans nous, which carries the voice of working-class neighborhoods, approves the bonus for low-income families announced by Emmanuel Macron on April 13 but there is an emergency according to Mohamed Mechmache, Honorary President of Pas sans nous.

A priority district of the policy of the city of Tremblay-en-France (Seine-Saint-Denis), in July 2018 (CLAIRE CHAUDIÈRE / RADIOFRANCE)

Emmanuel Macron announced, during his speech on April 13, the payment of exceptional financial assistance for “Modest families with children to enable them to meet their basic needs”. There is an emergency according to Mohamed Mechmache, honorary president of the collective Pas sans nous, who claims the role of “syndicate of working-class neighborhoods ”, interviewed Tuesday April 14 on franceinfo.

According to him, the gradual return to school from May 11, announced by Emmanuel Macron, is also desirable in working-class neighborhoods “To allow all these children to have a normal education”.

franceinfo: Is the gradual reopening of schools a necessity in working-class neighborhoods?

Mohamed Mechmache: Social inequalities appear much more during this confinement: the children who are at home and who no longer have any education and the digital divides in these territories. It is necessary that we allow all these children to have a normal education, while respecting safety and health for the families. You really have to see how the thing will work out. We live in small housing, children who are healthy carriers should not be able to infect their parents or grandparents: some live with their grandparents in their apartment.

The contamination is mainly family in these neighborhoods?

The problems that have been denounced for a very long time are resurfacing. The housing problem, where families live up to 8 or 9 in three rooms, when this is no longer allowed. The space does not allow to have the confinement so that everyone is isolated in a room, it is just not possible. We have the outside which serves as a piece of the garden, our halls of buildings which allow us to breathe a little. In Seine-Saint-Denis, the districts completely respect confinement. There are indeed people who go out to collect food. Today we are in a fairly urgent crisis: all these problems are emerging. All these people who worked are unemployed, their children who went to school and were taken into account by the canteen, are no longer. There is a financial shortfall. All these people who did odd jobs, a little black, who clearly can no longer. Difficulties are emerging, on emergencies and in particular on the food issue. The confinement will last and people who today no longer have the resources will be forced to tap into their savings to pay the additional rent. We, the Not Without Us collective, are asking for the suspension of rents and the emergency fund for families. As the president said, whatever the cost, we are in a state of war, we need bonuses for these most modest families to be able to accompany them throughout the duration of the confinement. We do food distribution and there is a crowd.

For them, aid is essential and urgent?

It is inevitable and urgent if tomorrow we want to prevent these people from going to loot stores because they will no longer have a choice. And for the post-containment, that’s all about the rents: families type in the budget to pay the rents. Donors will have to make an effort, I think they have plenty of cash to be able to make that effort during the two months of confinement and suspend rents.