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Socially-Supportive Co-Housing

Île-de-France - Paris
Integration through housing

The Lazare association allows homeless people to live with young workers in shared flats. Frédérique Goupilleau, sponsor for this socially-supportive housing, appreciates ‘giving a little time to associations through [her] company.’



Created in 2011, the Lazare association allows homeless people, who are often marginalised, to share housing with young workers in a co-rental system. ‘Our goal is to create ties between co-renters. The apartments operate as classic shared flats, except that the roommates spend one evening a week together talking. Ultimately, 40% of people find jobs again within two years,’ explains Étienne Villemain, director of the association. Each person has his or her own room, while the rest of the flat is shared. There are several Lazare houses in France; the one in Nantes houses 38 people and was renovated thanks to a grant of €20,000 from the Fondation VINCI pour la Cité.

Logistical Help
Frédérique Goupilleau, director of human resources with the West Region Delegated Management of VINCI Construction France, had been a sponsor before and wanted to do so again. ‘I still help the L’Homme Debout association, which works on social integration through woodworking professions in the Nantes area. The association is able to fit out flats rapidly. For example, this might concern mothers who must leave their homes rapidly to protect their children. It was a wonderful meeting. For the Lazare association, I provided logistical support above all. I put members of the association into contact with operational staff at my company, notably for the provision of equipment.’ The VINCI Prevention and Safety Committee also provided personal protective equipment to the worksite volunteer team for free. The house’s inhabitants can now enjoy agreeable surroundings in complete safety.

Social Integration
The Lazare co-renters stay as long as they need to put themselves back together, grow, regain their confidence. ‘Our sponsor also gave us advice to help people find jobs. I know that I can call on her for other projects, and that’s important,’ insists Étienne Villemain. As a recruiter, Frédérique Goupilleau meets people in difficulty. During the alternating work/study programme offered by the company, she implements integration clauses that foster jobs for people that are difficult to employ. ‘It is not easy for us, because social integration is not our main profession. It is therefore very interesting to talk with associations facing this issue every day. It lets us share, know what’s important. Knowing that an entire network is being set up around vulnerable people is heart-warming.’ The sponsor offered training centre visits to co-renters who might be interested in the construction and public works sector. But for now, life in the Nantes house has good days ahead of it.

March 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.