“I no longer see myself living anywhere else”: Guy, resident at Villa Savine in Montpellier, favors the family pension model

“I no longer see myself living anywhere else”: Guy, resident at Villa Savine in Montpellier, favors the family pension model

Guy Menager, résident de la pension de famille villa Savine, fondée par l’association habitat et humanisme. Midi Libre – GIACOMO ITALIANO

From May 27 to June 2, Montpellier celebrates National Pension Week like everywhere in France. For the occasion, these accommodations unlike any other open their doors to the public. A festival is even being organized at Montcalm Park on May 31.

Sitting in the common garden, Guy Menager, resident for eight years at the Villa Savine guesthouse, in the Saint-Lazare district, chooses the menu for the next open house on Thursday May 30. This residence, created by the Habitat et Humanisme association, is made up of 24 individual apartments. The former cook, 69 years old, monopolized the kitchen that day. "Every Friday we have a meal in the common room and it's me who makes the stew. There I am organizing a salad workshop for Thursday. At least when I'm the one cooking, no one gets sick. This Monday, May 27, Montpellier pensions are participating in national family pension week. This year Montcalm Park will host a festival in their honor, a first in Montpellier. On the program: shared meal, concert and entertainment. For Guy, it’s an opportunity to create new connections outside of Villa Savine.

"A home, but not alone"

Contrary to what its name suggests, no families live in these pensions. Individual housing is dedicated to isolated people. Hosts supervise the guesthouses. They carry out both animation work and social support. Patrice Théo, host at Villa Savine, tries "to restore a family spirit for people in difficulty who have a difficult past". This system aims to restore autonomy to residents. "I don't need to be monitored. But I don’t know how to do administrative matters, I’ve never done it. So Patrice helps me, says Guy Menager. The former homeless person also benefits from an apartment of around forty square meters, with a terrace, without forgetting the common rooms. A home, without loneliness. "I have three great friends here, we do everything together: bowling, sea fishing trips and  Michel Sardou's concert", Guy is on the move.

A lack of sustainable housing

The government plan "Housing First", to combat homelessness, plans to open 10 000 accommodations similar to family pensions , by the end of the five-year term. Placements in pensions and reception homes concern 24,000 people in France, but according to the Abbé-Pierre foundation, another 330,000 are homeless. Guy is indignant: "I don't want to hear any more about social workers. Nobody is proposing a lasting solution. You go around the devices and once you reach the end, you start again. At 69, I no longer see myself living anywhere else, I want to end my days here". It was after twelve years on the street that the SIAO, an integrated reception and orientation service, offered him long-term accommodation. "With the week national family pensions, we hope to make ourselves known to the general public and develop", says Patrice Théo. At the beginning of June, the Habitat and Humanism association will inaugurate "Les Frères Grimm", a boarding house, in the Hôtel de Ville district of Montpellier.

Pensions join forces for National Week

For its 4th edition, the national family pensions week is organized by Unafo, the Abbé-Pierre Foundation, Habitat and Humanism, the Federation of Solidarity Actors, Soliha and Fapil, with the support of Dihal and the Social Union for Habitat. An unprecedented cooperation.

Program of the week

Tuesday May 28:  breakfast at the Jasse Maurin guesthouse from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Location: 241 rue de la Jasse de Maurin in Montpellier.

Wednesday 29 mai :open day at the Adoma Père Soulas guesthouse from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration at 06 62 16 09 93 or at abou.berichi@adoma.cdc-habitat.fr. Location: 534 avenue Pierre Soulas in Montpellier.

Thursday May 30: breakfast at Villa Savine from 9:30 a.m. nbsp;at 11:30 a.m. By reservation at 06 72 64 24 13. Location: 64 avenue de Castelnau in Montpellier.

Friday May 31: boarding house festival organized by CDC Adoma, l’Avitarelle, the group SOS, Habitat and Humanism, Isatis, Ranges and Gestare, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Locations: Montcalm park. And open day guesthouse Adoma Fermaud Thank you from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Location: 6 rue Pierre Fermaud in Montpellier.

The boarding house festival will take place this Friday, May 31, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Parc Montcalm (skate park side), in Montpellier. ;On the program: shared meal, entertainment and concert with "El Origen". Free entry and parking.

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