This project aims to find available housing in the Agen area and to propose to the owners to renovate them in order to make them available to destitute families.
The region is very affected by immigration and many families and single people are without housing after having fled very complicated situations in their country of origin.
The association Entraide'toit helps these families to find temporary housing until they find stability, and Sister Marthe, the project leader, is particularly involved.
Many houses are unoccupied in Agen and the surrounding area, but many of them are undivided. The association therefore often takes steps to obtain the right to use them in exchange for maintenance and renovation if necessary.
At least once or twice a week, the 115, the CIMADE, the Secours Catholique, the Secours Populaire, social workers and other groups or associations approach Entraid'toit to find housing for single people or families.
The objective of the project presented by Sr Marthe is to renovate a house made available to a father and his 3 children in order to stabilize their lives and give them the minimum to live a normal life: a decent roof over their heads!
A little history to understand the situation.
The family comes from Africa, and more precisely from Angola, a former Portuguese colony. The Angolan state was born in 1975 and was strongly influenced by Marxist ideology and supported by Cuba.
The war of decolonization between 1961 and 1974 in Angola was very bloody.
Between 1976 and 2002 the country finally gained independence, but a civil war ensued led by the two liberation movements MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) and UNITA (National Union for Independence).
With such a situation, the father of the family, a journalist by profession, is threatened by the MPLA (still in power for over 40 years). In 2017, he preferred to leave the country to shelter his family in France. The family is transferred to the Landes for several months before arriving in Agen in 2018 where they were temporarily housed in a relay of the diocese.
Without a stable home or job for the father, the children have nevertheless been attending school since then and the father performs several volunteer missions throughout the week. Restos du cœur, Secours Populaire, then volunteer federal educator for the children, he even introduced tennis in an elementary school in Agen where he gives lessons twice a week.
"His investment in the Restos du Cœur allows him to obtain food to feed his family. Entr'AideToit also helps him to supplement the basic necessities, which is how we met him." Sr Marthe
A house was recently found and put at their disposal, but the state of it leaves something to be desired.
Some work would allow this family to live in a decent place and make a new start! It is also an investment for the next families who will need it.
Sister Martha explains:
The windows don't close well and there is heat loss especially in the winter, so we want to replace the 4 wooden windows with more insulating PVC. The two bedrooms also have very old wallpaper that needs to be changed, and the ceilings need to be repainted.
One room has a very dirty carpet: it will be replaced by floating floor. The second room has parquet flooring, some boards of which are eaten away, they will be repaired and the whole will be vitrified. The corridor between the living room and the bedrooms also needs to be renovated: woodwork, walls and ceilings, the tiled floor will remain the same.
Finally, after the kitchen, which will remain as it is, the floor of the toilets, which is currently damaged due to pipe work, will be improved by laying floating parquet with the offcuts from the bedrooms.
L* the youngest of the siblings shares:
"I like France very much. Coming to a country when you don't speak the language is difficult, but fortunately I quickly learned French at school. It's also hard not to have a house, but now I'm very happy because we have a house and it also has a garden."
Sister Martha concludes:
This is a temporary solution to help the families while they stabilize and become autonomous.
The owner of the house, to whom we are committed and for whom we are very grateful, is delighted to be able to make this house available, which has been empty until now.
Thanks to you, this family and the following ones will be able to get out of precariousness and bounce back after a complicated period thanks to a healthy and comforting place to live.
A big thank you for your generosity,
With them, thanks to you
À Agen depuis 1986, j’ai toujours été au service des pauvres : personnes malades, chez eux, à la maison d’arrêt, où auprès des enfants dans le cadre de l’Action Catholique des Enfants.
Depuis ma retraite, je suis engagée dans plusieurs associations :
L’Association Alliance en faisant de l’accompagnement auprès des personnes en fin de vie.
L’Association Myosotis pour l’accueil et l'accompagnement des familles des détenus.
L’Association Entr’AideToit au service des plus démunis, pour leurs permettre d’accéder à leurs droits les plus élémentaires (logement, santé, éducation, insertion sociale) dans l’espoir d’avoir une vie plus stable et plus équilibrée. Cette dans cette association que je m’investis particulièrement, notamment dans la recherche de logements qu’il faut bien souvent rénover pour installer un minimum de confort, indispensable dans le contexte actuel.