In the evening, there is a slight change of scenery.
Sheets and pillows appear on a sofa, and the meeting room and its large giant screen are transformed into an entertainment area where it is possible to watch a TV series.
The little curtain allows me to be a little quiet, to be a little in my world, explains Fortune Obame by showing us the device that separates his sofa from the rest of the office space.
Those who have lived here for a little over six months also have access to the employees’ bathroom and a small kitchenette, with fridge and microwave, where they can cook their own meals.
Fortune, a native Gabonese, experienced administrative problems which led him to find himself homeless. It was through an association that he was put in contact with the Nobilito company, which was ready to make part of its premises available.
” It allows you to be able to feel good in your head, then to say to yourself: “There, now, I have a roof”. I don’t have to be on the right, on the left, as people wish. “
The owner of Nobilito, Pierre-Yves Loaëc, had the idea for this concept when he left his office in Nantes a few years ago.
In the evening, I met a woman who slept on an air vent […]. That winter, it was very cold and I was leaving offices that were heated, he says.
The entrepreneur adds that he therefore found illogical
to see someone sleeping outside while our offices are hot. There is a bathroom, showers, there is something to eat and put a mattress.
A concept that is gaining momentum
Born in Nantes, the Bureaux du Cœur now exist in six French cities, including Paris. More than 30 companies are participating in the initiative and 16 delegations have been created across the country to further expand the network.
In the city of Le Mans, located 180 kilometers from Nantes, the local branch of the organization, for example, started its activities in September and around ten homeless people have already been accommodated.
A large majority worked and slept in their car or tent, specifies Jean-Luc Catanzaro, co-delegate of the Heart Offices in the Sarthe department. Very involved in the community environment, he ensures that long established links with aid organizations and businesses have enabled the project to be set up quickly in his region.
Although the idea he launched is already popular, the founder of Bureaux du Cœur, Pierre-Yves Loaëc, recognizes that the project has its limits. Participating companies cannot accommodate everyone on their premises. For example, it is difficult for them to house large families or people who have addiction problems or need regular medical follow-ups.
” We will not solve the precarious accommodation problems in France with the Bureaux du Cœur. But people who are on the cusp of success, we can really put their foot in the door and facilitate that success. “
According to him, the exchanges between employees and people accommodated, which cross at the beginning and at the end of the day in the buildings, benefit everyone.
We hear about it on TV, but discussing for real face to face his journey, with emotion, by asking questions, that has nothing to do with it., says the entrepreneur.
Fortune Obame, who exchanges greetings and sometimes shares coffee with Pierre-Yves and his team, also believes he benefits from this daily life in a professional environment.
In a setting like that, it’s good because there are people who work here who can give you advice., explains Fortune Obame, who for example received a helping hand to develop his curriculum vitae.
Today I don’t know which way I’m going to go, adds the one who recently found a job.
While he greatly appreciated the time spent in this unlikely residence, he is anxiously awaiting the next step: finding a home of his own.