As winter approaches, Les Bureaux du Coeur connects people on the street with businesses that can house them for a few months.
It was in the premises of the Handicall company in Étampes in Essonne that Gradi Ntala found refuge four months ago. After his father kicked him out, he lives in these 140 square meter premises. Without this initiative of the association Les Bureaux du Coeur, the 20-year-old young man would be on the street, like 300,000 people in France according to the latest figures from the Abbé Pierre Foundation.
Across the country, the association Les Bureaux du Coeur offers companies that want to temporarily welcome insecure people on the street into their premises. “When I found this place where I could sleep peacefully, I was happy“, confides Gradi Ntala. For a maximum of six months, he will be able to sleep on a large folding bed installed in the meeting room. The premises also have a bathroom, a small inner courtyard, toilets and even a kitchen that he uses.
“It helped me finish my training”
Most of the time during the week, the young man is absent and returns only in the evening. Because this emergency accommodation allows him to move forward. “It helped me complete my training“, explains. Anna Jardin-Lévêque, president of Handicall, is very happy to help the young man and did not hesitate when she heard about Bureaux du Cœur during the conference: “I thought this idea was really cool because we use the resources that are available to make them available to people who need them.“.
The manager also plans to accommodate more people after Gradi leaves. “We are very satisfied with this initiative and the experience we have with Gradi who received his training and started working, she rejoices. I think we can all agree to continue and welcome more guests.“
Solidarity to alleviate the housing crisis
A total of 140 people are accommodated in 22 French cities thanks to Bureaux du Coeur. Kinda Garman, the association’s CEO, calls on leaders for solidarity amid the housing crisis.
“Very few companies maximize the use of their spaces. These empty spaces, heated in winter, air-conditioned in summer, could be used as a very simple gesture of solidarity.”Kinda Garman, Director of Heart Offices
All companies can participate under five conditions: “The establishment of a sleeping area, a kitchenette with at least a refrigerator and a microwave oven, toilets, wardrobes and showers”, explains Kinda Garman. Currently, Bureaux du Coeur partners with 150 companies.