For seasonal workers, the housing hassle

Iimagine a seaside resort as prestigious as La Baule without its top-of-the-range hotels, its restaurants of the same status, its bars or its many shops … It’s hard to get an idea, and yet the lack of seasonal workers could well transform the self-proclaimed most beautiful bay in the world into a real tourist desert, while the city usually in the summer goes from 17,000 to 180,000 inhabitants! In other words, without a workforce, the entire local economy is threatened. “Last August, some restaurateurs were forced to close on Mondays and Tuesdays because they did not have enough staff,” recalls Franck Louvrier, the mayor.

By that time, France (and much of the world) had just begun to recover from the Covid crisis. It was time for some freedom regained, but also for a serious question to the usual candidates for these jobs in a few months at the coast. Hardly motivating wages, little or no paid overtime, schedules that are often incompatible with a social or family life … even today the complaints are still numerous and the consequences are clear as this new summer season approaches: in case of fatigue or change of workers , the tourism sector has lost no less than 200,000 jobs in France in just a few months. And now, to this crisis of vocation are added housing. Because in most of the areas that are popular with holidaymakers, employees can no longer find housing without consuming a good portion of their (already low) remuneration.

“A seasonal worker from La Baule, I welcome him to my home! »

This dilemma has recently been addressed by the City Council with the operation “A seasonal worker from La Baule, I welcome him to my home!” This is an invitation to citizens to rent their / the available rooms. Conditions for establishing a lease in proper form: the rent must not exceed 250 € per month (or 15 € per night), the room must be at least 9 square meters (for one person) and the tenant must have access to a bathroom and a kitchen. “We put the seasonal worker, his employer and his host around the table”, assures Franck Louvrier. Problem, the hosts in question are still too rare according to the association Presqu’île Habitat Jeunes (APHJ), which oversees this entire operation on the scale of the territory, which includes fourteen municipalities from St-Nazaire to Le Croisic via Guérande, Pornichet and therefore La Baule, where about fifteen seasonal workers were already moved in with the locals, the station is still looking for 180 other workers.Where to stay? In the private rental warehouse? Impossible, prices are prohibitive in high season.As for the 58 places on one of the three young homes in the sector n, they are already all occupied.

If, over the next few years, a property program with five other homes is to come off the ground (which would double the housing capacity), we must find solutions immediately in the meantime. “Some have already signed contracts and we have nothing for them,” laments Naïs Tilleau, social pedagogue at APHJ. At the moment, I am missing well over twenty homes for June, July and August, so so far, but I have only found four. “

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“We have hosted young people for a long time”

Four beds, with the same eight-year-old from Guérande who has agreed to provide an apartment and a studio, arranged on the floor of her house for her own children when they visit her. “We’ve been hosting young people for a long time, and we’ve always liked it,” smiles this retired National Education staffer, who can hardly be suspected of renting these rooms for the money: when deducting costs (water, electricity) , etc.) paid by the owner, there is not much left of the limited rent paid at the end of the month. No, here the approach is purely altruistic, but also reassuring. With a severely disabled husband, such a presence has a reassuring side, and that is also what APHJ wants to highlight in order to convince individuals not to go through a rental platform. “It creates social bonds,” confirms Naïs Tilleau. In addition, we visit all the accommodations and also meet the young people. »

The system is open to young people aged 15 (in apprenticeship) to 30 years and is expected to operate year-round.

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