Background to the programme
The luggage storage service for homeless people in Lille comes from the initiative of a social worker from the Cèdre Bleu (a hosting organisation in Lille for people with addictions) and that of an employee of Secours Populaire responsible for the process of looking for funding. This initiative was designed using field observations, especially made during food runs.
Objectives of the programme
- Facilitate the integration of individuals who are initiating procedures to access their rights
- Relieve the members of their luggage to avoid stigmatisation and to simplify their daily life (their movements, their administrative procedures or any other reintegration activities)
- Convince as many homeless people as possible to orientate themselves along the process of reintegration, especially during food runs
- Give motivation, self-confidence and a rhythm to life to beneficiaries
- Luggage storage system in 40 lockers of 1m3. The service includes access to a shower, health and internet.
- Access conditions: the individual must be resident in Lille, in the process of reintegration and guided by a social representative (a social worker or a representative of an organisation where people are registered as living)
- The employees of the luggage service can advise beneficiaries on the process (administrative, redoing a CV ...). They are in constant contact with the representative of the beneficiaries from social services or address registering organisation. They can directly call the public services or the social workers to understand the inertia of certain files.
- Confer responsibilities on beneficiaries, such as becoming a volunteer of the luggage service and thus participainge on the premises and support the efforts of other members
- Setting up a contribution of €3 for beneficiaries to emphasis motivation and the use of the service
- Creation of an internal newsletter
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
- The fact of not having to watch over their belongings facilitates the daily lives of beneficiaries. They can move more freely and better focus on the process of accessing their rights.
- Regular contact with the luggage storage service allows social ties to be renewed: give motivation, self-confidence and hope
- Facilitation of the administrative procedures through relaying information between employees of the luggage service and the social representative. One of the beneficiaries was able to complete a dossier in collaboration with the Armée du Salut, enabling him to obtain temporary accommodation.
- The feelings of the homeless are very positive.
- The report from regional television took an interest (France 3)
This type of service is the only one that exists in the northern region and the third nationally.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
Eaux du Nord, Lille Town Hall, Marie-Christine Blandin (Europe Ecology Deuputy, Greens) and the food run team from ABEJ Solidarity (Baptist Association for Mutual Aid and Youth)
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- The paper format of the information sheets is not very practical and is time consuming.
- Difficulty recruiting external volunteers due to schedules that conflict with student or professional life
Suggestions for future improvement :
- Specify the actual membership duration: in the external communication of the association (see Paris Charter), the membership period is 3 months, while internally, it is one year.
- The use of the electronic format is intended to combine the information sheet of the beneficiaries and the inventory.
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
- Maximum involvement of beneficiaries in organising the luggage service
- Proximity between volunteers and users enables social ties to be strengthened
- Continuous communication between employees of the luggage service and social workers to understand firstly the needs and secondly the responses.