On March 8, the Paris Center and Reid Hall celebrated International Women's Day with a fundraiser benefitting Le Filon, an association helping homeless women in Paris. The following is an interview with Perrine Boyer, president of the association.
March 15, 2018
When and how did you create Le Filon?
The association was created a year and a half ago when I noticed that there was a real lack of small, supportive structures that existed to help homeless and displaced women in Paris.
I have a masters in management and spent several years working with in the social and humanitarian sectors. I very quickly sought out an administrative council amongst friend and acquaintances who had experience in the social sector and in creating small structures. Today we have two staff members and 60 volunteers.
Describe the center
We’ve been in the Batignolles neighborhood (17th district) since February 2017. We have a kitchen, a shower, and a collective space. We’re open five days a week during the day, and can have up to fifteen people in the space on any given day. We limit it to fifteen to make sure that the space has a good ambiance, so it doesn’t become too impersonal and to avoid potential conflicts.
We’re currently collecting funds to open a second center.
What is the goal of the center?
The goal of the association is provide a welcoming and supportive space for homeless women and to help them find their place in society. We adapt our support based on the needs and aptitudes of each woman. They all have potential and each has her own talents.
We help them realize this potential by providing a supportive space for them. When they’re able to come to a place where they can come take a shower, wash their clothes, read a book, share a coffee or a meal with someone they feel better, they share their stories. There’s a psychological shift that happens and they start to feel ready to change and we then help them with administrative work necessary to get them back on their feet.