“Behind a person sleeping on the street, there is a story”: Habitat et Humanisme’s solutions for finding housing

“Behind a person sleeping on the street, there is a story”: Habitat et Humanisme’s solutions for finding housing

Les bénévoles au cœur de l’association, comme Josette ou Thierry, dirigés par Carole Servière. Midi Libre – GIACOMO ITALIANO

Depuis près de 30 ans, l’association héraultaise accompagne des personnes en leur permettant de louer un logement, en leur proposant une aide. Et avec toujours plus de projets en tête.

When you are received in the premises of Habitat et Humanisme in Montpellier, human warmth and kindness are there. Everyone goes about their task with their own skills. And they all work with a single objective: to support and find accommodation for people who need it to concretely respond to the problems of exclusion and isolation.

Established in Hérault almost thirty years ago, the association made the crazy bet at the time and more than logical nowadays, to implement the principle of housing first.

A team and missions that make sense

With its 135 volunteers and 25 employees, the association has built stone by stone what it has become today, and does not intend to stop there. At the direction of this structure, Carole Servière. The one who has always worked in solidarity by practicing humanitarian work abroad arrived a few months ago. "A logical professional path for a profession that has meaning."

Before adding: "Behind each accompanied person there is a story, and there are people around. And it can end in great stories." The latest example is a man who lives in his car. He will be able to benefit from accommodation and he has already invited some volunteers from the association to his housewarming party. The strength of this association is its volunteers, all involved. They are the ones who embody it.

Among them, Thierry Bermond, very involved in a multitude of associations. For Habitat et Humanisme, he takes care of everything relating to financing using his skills as a former bank executive. He turned to volunteering after the loss of his daughter. "I had to find a meaning to get up in the morning".

Mechanisms put in place and a project underway

And the team is very proud to present and explain its work. Three systems for three different audiences set up over the years of existence.

Search for volunteers and “supportive owners”

To continue to house people who find themselves in difficulty, the association is looking for volunteers but also “supportive owners”. She can even help you get help for renovation work.

Habitat and Humanism: 64 avenue de Castelnau in Montpellier. 04 67 75 55 80. herault@habitat-humanisme.org 

Temporary subletting

The first, intended for households in difficulty, was created to provide temporary access to housing, to then be rehoused on a long-term basis. The association rents accommodation to an individual called a “solidary owner”, before subletting the property to people who need it. In exchange for a controlled rent, the association guarantees the level of unpaid debts, but also possible damage and supports the occupants in all the steps of their life so that they can subsequently obtain social housing.

Family pensions

In view of the need, the association subsequently diversified by creating family pensions. This system is intended for isolated people with a very complicated life story who mainly come from the street or from emergency accommodation. In this specific context, support will be more important. Residents of these pensions will be able to benefit from help from social workers but also from volunteers to facilitate social ties, but also by reintegrating them slowly but sustainably into life. Currently the structure manages two pensions for around twenty residents, one in Montpellier, the other in Béziers. And in a few weeks a new one will see the light of day.

A real estate agency with a social vocation

And to complete its offer especially in response to needs, Habitat et Humanisme Hérault decided some time ago to create its own real estate agency – with a social vocation. This makes it possible to accommodate people who have difficulty accessing housing – single-parent families or women victims of violence for example – while securing "supportive owners" with specific guarantees and tax advantages.

With a project in progress, the construction of an intergenerational house which will accommodate families, students and seniors in the same place. But that's yet another story to come…

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