An empty Paris hotel now shelters the homeless

The Hotel Avenir Montmartre is usually a tourist magnet - with its sought-after views of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur church.

But with fewer tourists to entertain, it has found a much more important use. Opening its doors to the homeless.

The hotel's management has been handing over rooms to homeless charity Emmaus Solidarite for a year now, who put up people who would otherwise be on the streets.

If not for his accommodation at the hotel, Malian asylum seeker Ibrahim would be bedding down in the restaurant kitchens where he occasionally works.

If not there, he'd be facing a night outdoors.

"I'm African, when I had just arrived, I didn't know anyone. I was out on the street, and sometimes I would sleep in temporary housing with some other people. In these lodgings, some nights I sleep in the kitchen, or by the garbage cans. I did that for a year and a half. And then I go out, I talk to some people. I take my breakfast, and then my day starts. Some days I find a small job, and I earn about 40 euros, 30 euros, 50 euros and I go out. When I find these jobs, I pay for a hotel, which costs 30 euros, to spend the night. But I can't do this all my life."

The cost of his room at the hotel is covered by the charity.

Residents get three meals a day, and each room has a television and en suite shower.

The hotel is a lifeline for many residents like Ibrahim, who now have an opportunity to rebuild their lives.

"The day I arrived, I said, great! I see the future. The day will come when my life will change. I will have a place to live in my name, a job in my name, a residence permit, a life like what others have. //We want to find a job like others. If we have this, we have the possibility to change our lives."

Many who stay here have physical or mental illnesses from their time on the streets and the trauma they've experienced.

Emmaus Solidarite hopes the initiative can help break the cycle of homelessness.