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Igloos provide shelter for homeless population in France

An engineer designed igloo shelters for homeless to stay warm during the winter.


At night in the streets of the city of Alfortville, in the suburbs of Paris, a small shelter with an original shape sits next to a construction site. Inside, Christian, 58, is listening to a soccer match on his radio.


“This igloo is perfect, absolutely perfect!” he said while drinking a beer.


“I sometimes have to sleep without my jacket because it is so warm in here,” he joked.

Christian's igloo shelter is not your average camping tent.


(ABC News) Homeless people in Paris are experimenting a new type of waterproof shelters that remain hot in freezing temperatures.


Geoffroy de Reynal, a French engineer, designed his igloo-like shelters from Polyethylene foam, a material that can retain body heat. The shelters are covered in aluminum foil and “the temperatures inside the igloos are about 60 degrees Fahrenheit higher than outside. And it is also waterproof,” he explained.


De Reynal made his first igloos this winter with his own money. He then started an online crowd funding campaign for which he received around $20,000, much more than he expected.


“Using my resources and the money from the crowd funding campaign, I built 20 igloos prototypes this winter and distributed 10 in Bordeaux, and 10 additional in Paris,” he said.



(ABC News) Homeless people in Paris are experimenting with a new type of waterproof shelter that remains hot in freezing temperatures. A homeless man named Christian, 58 years old, shown inside the igloo.


He went on, “I was living abroad in Montenegro for a year, and there are not much people living outside there. When I came back to France, I was surprised by the number of homeless in the streets, so I decided to come up with an idea to help them.”


According to a study published in 2012 by The French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, the most recent data available, there are about 140,000 homeless people living in France, a 50 percent increase compared to 2001.

De Reynal does not see his igloos as a permanent solution.



(ABC News) Homeless people in Paris are experimenting with a new type of waterproof shelter that remains hot in freezing temperatures.


“I am not trying to replace emergency accommodations,” he argued. “I am just trying to make life a bit less difficult for homeless people. Having one of these igloos does not mean that you are not a homeless anymore.”


Laurent Eyzat, president and founder of the organization Actionfroid, which helps homeless by giving them food, clothes, and now igloo shelters, said the feedback has been positive so far.