Faced with the rising demand of women looking for housing the Emmaus community in Cabriès decided to go ahead with a project for a new building so we can welcome more women, starting with unaccompanied women first of all.
The new building was opened on 10 June 2017 and is just next to the current residence which houses around 40 companions.
The new building includes 15 small, 21m² studio flats which have their own individual toilet as well as new furniture and a kitchen sink:
- 8 flats on the first floor for women in difficulties/couples that are formed in the community.
- 7 flats on the ground level to host retired companions.
The building also has:
- A 50m² communal area
- A launderette
The first female companion was hosted in late June. As well as welcoming women in difficulties this new building allows us to offer housing more adapted to the needs of our retirees, 3 of whom have already moved to this new building that we, collectively, decided to call the ‘Abbé Pierre Oasis'.
Women are welcomed in the same way as male companions and they are assigned to tasks within the community. They are provided with free housing and receive a monthly allowance.
3 of our retired companions who live in the community, where they continue to be active, have moved into the new building, freeing up 3 spaces for new companions in the other residence.
The whole community is involved.
The local authorities
The commune of Pays d'Aix
The Abbé Pierre Foundation
The UACE (Union of Emmaus Friends and Companions)
Cabriès town hall
AG2R la mondiale insurance
3P, the company that did the building work
The architect, etc.
The community had to come together to work on the different aspects of the project.
The companions, friends and leaders had to think about what the project would entail, how it would be financed, how it would be implemented, how to manage the extra workload, how to handle the building work, the administrative aspects, etc.
We decided, 5 years ago, to open a shop in Aix to help finance the project.
At the same time the association started to send out calls for financing.
The building work - weekly meetings were held with the workers and the architect.
Skill-based sponsorship: we participated in a skill-based sponsorship with AG2R la Mondiale in order to think about the changes this new building would bring to the community.
A task group including the companions, friends and leaders was launched with the goal of creating a document to outline the rules of life within the Emmaus Cabriès community and how the community operates.
Almost all the bedrooms were filled 2 weeks after we opened.