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"ACI": Employability workshops to fight poor housing

Summary : Building Workshops for Employability (AIT) by the association "The Builders of Emmaus" contributes to employability in the sector of construction and renovation and promotes the recycling of materials. The ecological constructions carried out benefit the victims of poor housing.

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  • Start date : June 2011
  • Implementation site : Aubervilliers
  • Budget : 400000 €
  • Source and details on funding : Customers, State, Ile-de-France Region, Department of Seine-Saint-Denis, VINCI Foundation, GDF SUEZ


  • Les bâtisseurs d’Emmaüs
  • ZA La Fontaine du Vaisseau 3 Rue Michelet
  • 93360 Neuilly-Plaisance (France)
  • Employees : 14
  • Volunteers : 5


Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  23/08/2014 00:00
Opinion of the Committee : Source of inspiration !
Solution(s) : Environment Housing Job
Country :  France, Île-de-France
Stature of the programme :  Local
Participant :  Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Persons with disabilities, Bottom Of the Pyramid (BOP)
  • Domain :  Work, Housing, Education, Training

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Poverty France » (Aubervilliers)

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : Balde Dominique , « "ACI": Employability workshops to fight poor housing », **Journal RESOLIS** (2014)

Background to the programme

The Building Workshop for Employability (ACI) by the Builders of Emmaus, established in 2007, belongs to the Future of Emmaus Neuilly community. These activities enable the "companions" to live (their work allowing them to have shelter, food, pension rights, social security and savings). ACI became independent in July 2011 and is approved by the State under the Regional Directorate for Enterprise, Competition, Consumers, Work and Employment of 93 (DIRECCTE of 93).

Objectives of the programme

ACI aims to socially and professionally integrate people who are alienated from employment (disabled, welfare benefits, etc.) through building activities (wood frame buildings). The renovation and rehabilitation is aimed at Emmaus groups and communities, associations that support ROM families and/or travelling people, social landlords and local authorities. These construction projects and renovations also help to fight against poor housing.

Implemented actions

- Collective construction projects for families in very precarious situations in terms of housing.

- Progressive return to employment by ensuring appropriate and personalised follow up: 1) A site manager and an assistant supervise the employees who're being integrated; 2) a socio-professional advisor guarantees individual follow-up interviews (detects problems : housing, debt, health, compliance with instructions, access to rights, etc.) and group workshops to help them determine their professional project (building, food, logistics, handling, etc.) and implement it (change of direction).

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

- Construction of 2 houses with pallets salvaged from the town of Aubervilliers; Insulation materials salvaged from a building ( "gateway" housing for the Roma families); Setting up 2 environmental health modules for travelling families.

- A dozen families in precarious situations have already benefited from the construction projects.

- The integration plan: 70% positive feedback in 2012 (against 55% for the rest of the department).

Original characteristics

To professionally integrate people in difficulty while also fighting against poor housing and promoting the circular economy (experimenting with reusing materials).

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

- Economic element: Emmaus Communities, communities (Rosny, Aubervilliers), social housing enterprises (Habitats Solidaires), associations (the Departmental Association for the Promotion of Romany - ADEPT, Coup de Main, the Community Centre for Social Action CCAS), Atelier du Bocage (use of pallets)

- Integration element: Emmaus Communities, Neuilly-Plaisance Job Centre, Jobs Plan Initiative (PLIE) City of Neuilly Plaisance, other employment organisations through economic activity (SIAE) and Accommodation and Social Reintegration Centres (CHRS)

- Social issues: Emmaus Network, Aurora, Epoc Association (Psychoanalytic Space Orientation and Consultation) Lyrics Voyageuse the groupings of institutions (Greta), suppliers, The City of Spring (Neuilly Plaisance), Emmaus Solidarity.


Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

- Economic equilibrium has not yet been achieved.

- Construction activity (with the ambition to recycle) requires extensive research, design, preparation and the implementation of the projects (design, site supervision, supply management, identification of sources recyclable material, adaptation of construction processes, etc.), implying significant structural costs

- The customers (social housing landlords, local authorities, etc.) are "committed" actors who themselves have severe financial constraints.

- The beneficiaries don't travel for the therapeutic support (fears about therapy).

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

- In case of psychological problems, the recipient is directed to (local) specialised organisation: EPOC (Psychoanalytic Space for Orientation and Consultation), the Association Aurore (in case of addiction), etc.

- The construction process is carried out in workshops: greener, practical and economical.

- Tests in progress on the re-use of interior materials (eg paints).

Suggestions for future improvement :

Structuring, development and stabilisation of activities: 1) more sites; 2) consolidation of a core business to stabilise the integration process (work with clients and architects to pre-fabricate panels, a frame brought from workshops to be mounted on site. Will also enable local development through civic participation); 3) creation of the salvaging centre for building materials (reduced purchasing costs of materials).

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :


- Concrete actions taken to fight against bad housing

- The personal monitoring for the professional integration of beneficiaries

- Ecological component by reusing recycled materials


- Having a stable business model and a core business, know-how (here, its construction)

- Know what to put in place as it has many sources of funding (social, institutionalised, private, business)

- Think about both public and social (thus satisfying the customer and the beneficiaries)

Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :

- Reuse of materials, research and development on technology and as regards the job search.

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