PARIS - A charity that shamed Paris into noticing its homeless people claimed victory yesterday after the French Government promised to spend €7 million ($14 million) on emergency housing.

Medecins du Monde's "tent city" campaign - in which 300 homeless people were given tents to sleep in on the historic streets of Paris - prompted such an outcry Government officials were forced to act.

Yesterday Junior Minister for Employment and Social Cohesion, Catherine Vautrin announced a €7 million package for 1270 hostel beds.

Much of the new accommodation will be bedsits where the homeless can settle, rather than have to move out every morning.

Between 2000 and 5000 people are estimated to sleep on the streets of Paris every night.

Medecins du Monde and other campaigners welcomed the move but added that more efforts would be needed as the winter approached.

The campaign began last winter when it gave away 300 "two-second tents" - which unfurl rapidly and do not require poles or pins - to people sleeping rough. Small communities sprang up along the Quai d'Austerlitz and the Canal Saint Martin.

Some Parisians complained but many others empathised and bought the homeless the €40 tents.

Last month, Vautrin commissioned a report on "the situation revealed by the phenomenon of the tents", which resulted in yesterday's announcement.

Vautrin said: "People will be able to stay for several weeks and receive social and health support.

"If this approach works it will be implemented throughout France."

But Paris's socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said the measure was insufficient.

- INDEPENDENT