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Habitat & Humanisme IDF : finding one's place again

Île-de-France - Paris
Integration through housing

Habitat & Humanisme Ile-de-France's teams has been helping inadequately-housed families and individuals recover their autonomy and re-enter society for 20 years already! An anniversary to celebrate throughout 2012: solidarity race, festival at the Parc Floral de Paris, jumble sale, concerts, and more.

12/15/2011

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"Support is the guiding principle in our mission. The families that we welcome are in de-structured situations. Individuals have been through times of great fragility. And this adds to the housing crisis, for which no end is in sight, particularly in the Ile-de-France region," says the director of the association, Olivier Launay, who arrived in 2010. It is important that these people can find homes, set down their luggage, and begin re-building themselves. Laurent, 46 years old, lost his home after a long period of unemployment. "I just moved into one of Habitat & Humanisme studios in Viroflay. I can finally breathe and think about the future." And focus on his job hunt. Having an address is important socially and also for employers.

A bridge to independence

The people are given a housing unit managed by the association of 18 months on average. "They are then followed by one of our social workers, a true guide in the labyrinth of their rights and their socioprofessional integration," explains Olivier Launay. A volunteer acts as a parallel link to help the family settle into its new home and recover a social life, leisure and friends. The association currently has 35 employees and 400 volunteers, and takes care of 300 families, many of which are single-parent families, specifies Olivier Launay with pride. Manda Dabo and her son Alioune, age 5, had lived in social hostels for about fifteen months: "In 2009, the city hall of the 10th arrondissement in Paris steered me toward Habitat & Humanisme, which gave me a home for twelve months. Today, I live in a low-rent apartment on my own, even though I've stayed in touch with Marie-Cécile, 'my' social worker. Thanks to her, I was able to create my association to help AIDS patients in Senegal." Habitat & Humanisme is my second family! Today, Manda Dabo feels ready to take her turn as a volunteer.

Expertise missions

In 1999, Habitat & Humanisme created a real estate agency to manage the 800 housing units that it owns directly or manages for social donors and individuals: studios, apartments, and even two relay houses for isolated people in great social or even psychological, difficulty. "In addition, we are developing very promising operations addressing inter-generational living, in room mate or residential situations, that combine students, seniors, isolated people and families in difficulty," says Olivier Launay.

To maintain this vast real estate stock, the association obtained €5,000 from the VINCI Foundation to purchase a small utility vehicle at the end of 2011 (after an initial grant of €15,000 in 2005 to open the first relay house). Habitat & Humanisme also benefits from the sponsorship of two VINCI Construction employees: "They called on our expertise to estimate the cost of renovating 15 buildings in their stock, before being able to send out grant requests. We therefore rapidly assessed the needs for all their locations," clarifies Laurent Querelle, director of the renovation unit with Bateg in Vélizy-Villacoublay. He was joined by Fabrice Gaté, enterprise head with STEL SAS in Fontenay-sous-Bois: "We provided a complete technical diagnostic on the state of the buildings—energy, ventilation, cracks, etc.—and our network of sector specialists." The two men's main motivation? Sharing skills to serve social action.

January 2013 © Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

VINCI Foundation works with Reporters d'Espoirs, a French news agency, to highlight and share the innovative social initiatives that it supports. The arrangement includes the writing of articles and exchange on topics that lead to solutions. Thus presented, the initiatives, validated using the criteria of the editorial charter of Reporters d'Espoirs, are intended to demonstrate their development and results.