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Nicolas Decortes and Aslim: a home of one’s own

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - Lyon
Integration through housing

Without Aslim (Action Soutien Logement Insertion Meublé), those forgotten by society wouldn’t have a roof over their heads. Nicolas Decortes, enterprise head with VINCI Energies, met Aslim when he wanted to sponsor an association ‘to donate [his] time to solidarity action’.



In Vénissieux, the table is set for renters at the family hostel managed by the Aslim association. Here, a house host organises shared meals and activities, and ensures cohesion among residents, who are people who are greatly excluded from society and who have been vagrants or have psychological issues. ‘This family hostel is part of a group of seven homes that received from updates thanks to a €25,000 grant from the Fondation VINCI pour la Cité, explains Valérie Vardanega, director of Aslim. The others are units that we rent to social housing providers to house people in difficulty in exchange for a small fee.’ These renters are, for their part, totally independent. Valérie’s problem was funding renovations. Nicolas Decortes understands. Since 2007, he has managed Cap Sécurité, a SME with a staff of 15 employees within VINCI Energies and specialised in electrical safety. ‘I had provided informal help to Les Potagers du Garon a few years ago. I wanted to do more, and the Fondation VINCI pour la Cité asked me to sponsor Aslim. With this association, I discovered a world that I didn’t know, where people in situations of extreme insecurity can’t even obtain social housing. They do amazing work. Without them, some people would be in the streets,’ says the sponsor.

Big and small Jobs for decent housing

Aslim currently houses 1,403 people in 493 units, mainly in Lyon. ‘We want them to live normal lives, without being stigmatised,’ insists Valérie Vardanega. Thus, the hallways of some buildings that were in very bad shape were renovated and made more attractive for the residents’ well-being. ‘With Benoît Lamand, [Head of Commercial Development for VINCI Construction France] the project’s co-sponsor, we visited the buildings. The work was more than necessary and represents a long-term action. Renovating is also conserving the property, avoiding squatters, and improving safety,’ notes Nicolas. The other portion of the grant was used to install smoke detectors and comply with fire safety codes by installing fire extinguishers. ‘It was an opportunity to visit everyone, in close management, and create ties by explaining how the extinguishers work, for instance,’ adds Valérie.

More than financial sponsorship

‘The sponsorship allows me to bring my professional skills to Aslim, advise them on providers and estimates. I wanted to be more involved, so I helped them install a security system,’ says Nicolas. One of the association’s office had been broken into and there had been a few small thefts, which made the sponsor offer an alarm system. ‘This sponsorship goes well beyond monetary concerns. Nicolas Decortes and Benoît Lamand are two partners on whom we can count. We would very much like to keep the relationship after the work is done, which should be in the fall!’ says Valérie with pleasure. Because everyone has the right to an agreeable and safe living environment.

September 2015 © 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.