Les Bureaux Du Cœur: A Solidarity Initiative In Companies
What if companies had a role to play in helping the homeless? This is the credo of Bureaux du Coeur, an association that invites companies whose offices are empty at night to welcome homeless workers and other beneficiaries in precarious situations. We invite you to discover this beautiful idea that is beginning to make its way into the corporate world.
Empty premises 70% of the time
Companies are not always aware of it, but their premises remain empty and unused most of the time. It is this observation that gave rise to the idea of using professional premises for the emergency reception of people in precarious situations.
Pierre-Yves Loaëc, one of the founders of the association les Bureaux du cœur explains: 'We realized that our premises were not being used 70% of the time [...]. At night, on weekends, they are useless and, at the same time, we come across people sleeping in the street. We said to ourselves that we could welcome them on the moments when our premises were useless.'
The foundations of the association Les Bureaux du Coeur were laid by a group of about fifteen Nantes-based leaders from the Nantes CJD in 2018. Since then, this association has spread throughout France: it now has more than 80 volunteers spread across 18 delegations. This solidarity initiative also benefits from the support of the Fondation de France, which is a guarantee of seriousness.
Pierre-Yves Loaëc himself continues to open the premises of his company (Nobilito, a communications agency based in Nantes) to homeless workers, students in precarious situations, people undergoing reintegration or women who are victims of domestic violence.
Help that goes beyond simple reception
In the professional premises that host them, the association's beneficiaries find a refuge and can take advantage of sanitary facilities such as a shower and toilets. They generally use this hosting for a fairly long period of 3 to 6 months to bounce back, look for a job or go to work in better conditions.
Moreover, the association's beneficiaries and the company's employees do not just cross paths in the evening. They also find in this system the opportunity to exchange. It is not uncommon for employees to offer their help in redoing a CV, for example, so the Bureaux du Coeur initiative offers much more than just an individual emergency reception.
The association, which works with several partners such as the CAF and the Qualitel association, aims to accompany the people it welcomes towards reintegration and a return to a normal life.
Half of the homeless could find shelter
In France, there are nearly 300,000 homeless people. Yet, the founders of the association Bureaux du Cœur have calculated that if every French SME housed one of these people, half of the homeless living on the street would be safe.
To make this dream a reality one day, the association's volunteers are trying to convince more and more companies to participate in this human adventure throughout France. This is a decision that all companies could make, even though many offices are empty, since the rise of telecommuting linked to the health crisis.
The role of these volunteers is mainly to assure business leaders on practical issues such as insurance and security of business premises. The association, which has done a remarkable job of laying out a legal and regulatory framework for hosting people, supports companies every step of the way.
Moreover, to be able to take advantage of this reception in companies, the beneficiaries must meet several criteria: it must be a single person, of age, without addiction or hygiene problems and not needing specific medical follow-up.
How to participate?
If you are a business leader and are interested in the work of the Heart Offices, know that you don't need to have a large facility to host someone.
Just a few square feet are enough to accommodate a homeless person and most companies have unused space, such as meeting rooms, file rooms or other nooks and crannies that can be repurposed.
All willing companies or structures should start by contacting the association. The association will study the legal and practical aspects with you and decide whether or not it is possible to host a person in a precarious situation.
To learn more about this great initiative and its functioning, we invite you to visit the official website of the association (link below).