The Bureaux du Cœur association, located in Nantes, offers business leaders the opportunity to welcome homeless people into their premises, at night and at weekends. We had the opportunity to discuss the association with its founder Pierre-Yves Loäec, director of the communication agency Nobilito and president of the Centre des Jeunes Dirigeants (CJD).
How did this association come to light?
First of all, he declares that he is "attached to humanist values", such as respect, welcome, openness and mutual aid. On his way to work, he regularly saw a homeless woman who slept day and night in the parking lot where he parked.
So, an idea popped into his head! He thought he could open his offices, which are equipped and heated at night.
"Based on the observation that the offices are partly heated in the evenings and at weekends and that they are equipped with kitchens and sanitary facilities (toilets, sinks, often showers), it is natural that the directors of CJD Nantes wanted to welcome people in precarious situations in their premises once they are no longer in use." – Pierre-Yves Loäec
He talks to his staff at the Young Leaders Centre to get their perspectives. Convinced by this solidarity and human approach, they in turn join the adventure.
This is followed by all the legal and social steps to accommodate homeless people. He contacted specialized associations, which very much welcomed this initiative. "Associations often have infrastructure to take care of the homeless during the day, but at night there is a lack of beds", "it's an exchange of good practices". The association was therefore created and was created at the end of 2019.
The concept itself
The goal is simple; To provide individual housing to homeless people by placing them in a professional setting where they can benefit from a network.
Each company has only one homeless person on its premises. The idea is to see the Bureaux du Cœur as an airlock, a return to integration, where each person in great precariousness benefits from an individual heated and equipped home. In this way, this person is immersed in a professional environment, punctuated by working hours. In addition, they can benefit from the network of managers and employees to integrate more easily into working life.
A human adventure
Employees get to know each other, to exchange with this person. Although no quid pro quo is required, they become quite naturally supportive. "I have a colleague who rewrote his CV, another who gave him certificates for the lockdown. There's a lot of goodwill and a lot of enthusiasm."
"It's not a quiet river," the founder assures me. It is a human adventure filled with joy, anger and sadness. Therefore, when they leave the office, it is always a twinge of sadness, but it is to strive for a happier future.
Souleymane Diarra, 38, has been staying in Pierre-Yves Loäec's company since October after two years on the street. He does not consider the Offices of the Heart to be a mere dwelling.
© Heart Offices
"It's not just housing," he tells Actu.fr. There is a certain autonomy but there are also rules to follow. The Bureaux du Cœur is an opportunity and a helping hand to move forward and project oneself. In the morning, when the employees arrive, it's friendly and it's a great way to get you started! – Souleymane Diarra
How many entrepreneurs have joined the association?
Today, the association has about fifteen members. Many business leaders have been receptive to the approach: "about a hundred companies want to join us". The concept has gained momentum and will certainly be exported beyond borders (the Bureaux du Cœur have been contacted by companies located in Montreal, Canada).
In addition, the association would like its concept to be exported elsewhere, and why not to Belgium? If you want more information about the association, here is their website: https://www.bureauxducoeur.org
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