In its 2006 report on housing problems in France, the Fondation Abbé Pierre, a reference in the area of social housing, puts at more than three million those suffering from “a serious problem of poor housing,” that is, people without any fixed abode, housed in shelters, “temporary” structures, camping grounds, friends’ sofas, etc.
To add their contribution to the seriously threatened social housing sector, many associations try to find local solutions, sparing neither their trouble nor their funds. They include the Habitat et Humanisme movement, which focuses on helping underprivileged people find housing and then helps them along the road to social and vocational integration.
A housekeeper to smooth the way for collective housing
Part of this network, the Habitat et Humanisme Ile-de-France association was created in 1992. With its nine employees, the help of one hundred and fifty volunteers and 425 members and donors, it housed 365 families in 2005.
A new project in 2006: it is undertaking a unique experience in the Ile-de-France region with the refurbishment of a building in Versailles to create family accommodation which will include twenty-two units for single, socially excluded people; a seventeen-place residence for bursary students; and three units for underprivileged families. Within their respective apartments, all the residents will be totally independent, however, a “housekeeper” will run all the collective aspects of the center and act as the coordinator-supervisor for this small community. In particular, this person will be in contact with local associations and health professionals to meet needs as they arise. While other such experiences exist in France, it is the first time that such a varied population will be housed together in the same place. The (highly supervised) challenge will be to ensure that this mix creates a new dynamic of mutual assistance in rebuilding each other’s future.
OTHER PROJECT SUPPORTED
Inauguration at Vernon (Eure) of a halfway house with 20 places to accommodate people in difficulty.
Domain: Social and employment
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