In Chaville, France, the solidarity housing of the Le Cèdre Bleu association is located in the city centre, in the middle of conventional apartments. They are intended for young adults with autism supported by the association. This step aims to foster their independence, with a view to entering working life partially or entirely independently.
In less than two months, the results are encouraging.
An innovative project
Already supported for a project to create an educational kitchen in 2014, the Cèdre Bleu Foyer d’Accueil Médicalisé (FAM, a care home for people with disabilities) called on us again for an innovative project: to create housing for six individuals in three apartments of a beautiful building in the town centre of Chaville.
The project allows people with autism who need continuous support to live like everyone else. Living in a community in contact with neurotypical (non-autistic) people is a tremendous lever for social integration.
To meet the needs of the residents, six members of the association take turns during the day to maintain constant support. In the evening, a watchman makes sure that there are no malfunctions in the apartments (doors or windows left open, equipment on for too long, etc.). Equipped with a tablet connected to the home automation of the apartments, the watchman can therefore ensure the tranquillity of the accommodation without compromising the privacy of the residents.
Convincing results from the first stages of the project
Despite an opening delayed by the health crisis, initial feedback is more than promising: one of the residents who until his arrival in the housing, spoke very little and always wore earphones, took them off after a month and integrated into the group with whom he lives. This is remarkable progress when you consider the difficulty people with autism have opening up in "normal" circumstances.
Another resident works in an ESAT (supported employment facility) and continues to learn to become more independent.
Yes another young adult is living in the apartment for a transitional period of one year, with the goal of living completely alone afterwards.
A pleasant and somewhat original setting, far from the medical world
As the president of the association points out, the strength of these apartments also lies in their warm energy, far removed from the sanitised atmosphere that is too often encountered in certain care homes for people with disabilities. Here residents “feel like everyone else” and are part of a much more inclusive dynamic than you find in medical equivalents.
The future tenants are chosen from among the residents of the medical accommodation centres without predefined criteria other than the young person’s ability to behave calmly. This helps to avoid disputes with neighbours and helps them to socialise better.
Roommates learn to get along in particular at the dinner table and in the kitchen - shared spaces where meals are served together with the support of an assistant. Privileged moments of sharing and cohesion.
After only one month of existence, the adapted housing is showing its relevance and potential. Hopefully this type of innovative housing will catch on.