“We accommodate the homeless on our premises with the Bureaux du Cœur” – Le Journal des Entreprises
From 6:30 p.m. each evening, when the employees of the Voyelle agency leave their premises in Cesson-Sévigné, they take on a completely different use. The digital strategy agency, which has meeting rooms and offices for its training center, welcomes two homeless people in two of its rooms. This solidarity-based approach is led by the manager of Voyelle, Arnaud Louvet, in conjunction with the Bureaux du Cœur association. “We see people sleeping outside every day. At the same time, we have offices that are empty every night and on weekends, notes the manager of this agency, which was born in 2006, and which employs 28 employees (CA 2022: 2 M€) I told myself that we could certainly do something to accommodate these homeless people, but I didn’t know how… etc.” Until the day when Jean-Marc Tariant, Rennes manager of the Finance and Strategy company and member of the CJD, came to talk about the Bureaux du Cœur to other JDs (Young Managers), including Arnaud Louvet. “Last year, he opened the Rennes section of this association born in Nantes in 2019, underlines Arnaud Louvet. Today, we are 55 “host” companies in France, including 5 around Rennes.”
A three-way commitment
Thus, the Bureaux du Cœur make contact with the associative fabric of Rennes which works, in contact with people in great precariousness (homeless, without papers, people receiving the RSA, etc.) such as the Red Cross, the CCAS or the CHU. They are the ones who send “guests” to companies like Voyelle. “These are single people, without children, because we only welcome them in the evening and on weekends. They must not have addictions either, be independent, that is to say not require care, and be able to manage their daily lives”, details Arnaud Louvet. Then, the company signs a three-party agreement with this “guest” and the association, for a period of three months, renewable once. “This gives them comfort and security over a significant period of time”, continues the manager, who must provide a closed cupboard for the “guest” to store his personal belongings in, and a sofa bed to sleep in. .
A sofa bed and a closet
The company also provides a kettle and microwave, toilets with sink. “The kitchenette and the shower, when companies have them, that’s a bonus!”, explains Arnaud Louvet. He welcomed a Moroccan immigrant who worked in a cleaning company, and currently a Congolese and a Georgian, both waiting for papers. “They have badges to access our premises and the room reserved for them until the morning. They are respectful because they know it’s a chance”, indicates Arnaud Louvet to reassure those who are afraid for the safety of their premises or their data.
The investment is therefore minimal (from 700 to 1,000 euros for a guest, and a simple declaration to his insurer) to bring a lot to a person in need. “The objective is also to create a few links with them, even if we cross paths. And our collaborators are proud of this approach. They are always ready to help, whether it is to lend dishes or an old telephone… In summary, this is a concrete act that feeds a CSR approach undertaken elsewhere”, considers Arnaud Louvet who would like to see the ranks of host companies grow.