In 2006, an ‘experimental squat’ was set up in an abandoned building in Marseille by a local collective combating homelessness. The squat was envisioned as an alternative to conventional health and social services for individuals experiencing long-term homelessness and severe psychiatric disorders. Based on the lessons learned from the squat, some then joined a larger coalition that succeeded in convincing
national government decision-makers to develop a scientific, intervention-based programme based on the Housing First model. This paper analyses the political process through which social movement activism gave way to support for a state-funded programme for homeless people with mental disorders.
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