The social conditions of “unconditional” assistance. La Mie de Pain night shelter during the Trente Glorieuses

Aid to the homeless for 1945
By Mauricio Aranda

The “Trente Glorieuses” was a period of economic growth and strengthened social protection for wage earners. It also saw a reshaping of the ties between public authorities and non-profits with regard to shelters for the socially marginalised. In this context, why did certain charities want to maintain independently-managed night shelters, instead of benefiting from state subsidies and recognition? This paper analyses the social conditions that allowed them to continue as private charity, said to be “unconditional”. Through the case of La Mie de Pain, an emblematic charitable organisation that provided aid to the homeless, the objective is to show how a whole chain of interconnections, linking donors, volunteers and the people they serve, allowed this assistance to exist on the margins of public action. This type of overnight shelter did not receive subsidies and was not officially termed “emergency accommodation” until the end of the Trente Glorieuses.

Go to the article on