In response to the closure of two night reception buildings this Sunday, a collective called 43m² has set up emergency shelters on the Esplanade de Beaulieu in Lausanne.
They announced the color earlier in the week, they kept their word! Activists from various organizations gathered under the banner of 43 m² – the average living space of a person in Switzerland – took over the Esplanade de Beaulieu in Lausanne on Saturday and set up a relatively sophisticated camp for the homeless there. This action reflects the closure of the Répit and Borde 47 shelters on Sunday due to the arrival of the summer season.
“We decided to invest in Beaulieu for a number of reasons. The Palais de Beaulieu belongs to the city of Lausanne and includes several vacancies. Because people who are used to sleeping in emergency shelters know this place: it was already used as a day and night reception during the COVID period. Finally, in record time, the authorities rightly provided 200 beds for people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Of course we welcome the solidarity efforts towards the Ukrainians and we certainly do not want to prioritize these issues, but on the other hand we advocate a solidarity that defies scrutiny and that does not put one group of people above another. If it is possible to provide 200 beds for people coming from Ukraine, as many can be provided for the homeless.
43m² is required by the forthcoming opening of a hall
“In order for this shelter to be able to meet the essential needs of everyone present, we urge the authorities to open a hall in Beaulieu without delay. We ask for running water and electricity. We also ask the authorities not to carry out evacuations and to support the 43 m2 movement as much as possible. We communicated this action to the city of Lausanne and the state of Vaud and made ourselves available for a constructive dialogue right from the start.
Associations sent an open letter to the canton in April, in which they judged the Vaud emergency shelter system to be outdated and called for solutions. The city of Lausanne on Friday launched a seven-month pilot project of emergency housing for low-income workers.