Social housing at the heart of Bordeaux’s urban projects
While the French state is investing ten million euros in a five-year “Housing First” plan to support social housing, social housing organizations are facing the restructuring of the housing sector. Labeled the “general interest of housing” by the Caisse des dépôts, CDC Habitat is a housing company, France’s largest lender that supports local authorities in social and intermediate housing activities. Faced with a drop in profit in the housing sector, CDC Habitat merged its 13 Social Housing Enterprises (ESH) into one: CDC Habitat Social in January 2019. CDC’s real estate offering (very social and social rental housing, intermediate, free and student housing and homeownership housing) informs us about the state of housing policies in New Aquitaine.
CDC Habitat Southwest: a key player in public real estate
CDC Habitat manages 32,690 units in the Southwest territory, including 14,085 social housing units. Grouped into six interregional directions that cover the entire national territory, the South-West Interregional Directorate brings together New Aquitaine and Occitania. This organization in the direction allows to control the activity of local agencies, participate in the development of their expertise and ensure local development.
Its real estate offer seeks to address a wide spectrum of public in order to offer an ever more suitable offer. Housing solutions are thus offered both to the most vulnerable public, notably through asylum seeker reception facilities or emergency accommodation and stabilization centres, but also to middle-class households who can then benefit from 10-15% at market prices and accessible without an award fee.
CDC Habitat also has a role as a valuable producer in the territory as CDC Habitat is the Bank of territories’ habitat expert. Opened on January 25th in Bordeaux, the Bank of Territories is the investment and financing bank of the Caisse des dépôts et consignments (CDC).
In the Bordeaux region and for the year 2018, the Bank of the Territories has generated almost 700 million euros in loans on savings funds (construction of 4,516 new social housing units and rehabilitation of 2,133 social housing units and accommodation places) and 54.3 million euros of equity investments to finance projects boosting local development.
A real player in the development of the Bordeaux economy, CDC Habitat signed an agreement in 2018 with the Bordeaux University Hospital, which is the largest employer in New Aquitaine. Given the tensions in the Bordeaux real estate market were a hindrance to the recruitment of employees, they can now benefit from CDC Habitat’s program offers.
Rethinking housing policies in New Aquitaine
Local housing policies require a political prescription. To this end, this is the aim of the ELAN Act: to build more housing, especially in tense areas at affordable prices.
Jean-Baptiste Desanlis, South-West Interregional Director, points out that the development prospects of CDC Habitat in the South West are in the intermediate rental housing in the municipalities of Bordeaux, Mérignac, Pessac, Talence, Le Bouscat, Bruges and Bègles. Intermediate rental housing is positioned between social and free housing. For example, a protocol with Bordeaux Metropole was signed in January 2017 to reach 25O dwellings by 2020-2021, where Bordeaux has a need per year for 600 intermediate dwellings that are not contracted but approved housing. For example, the “Bordeaux-Les Échoppes” project is a real estate development operation of 84 new housing units, in free and affordable home ownership as well as in intermediate rentals. Built of cut stone, its urban design is reminiscent of Bordeaux shops. This easily shows that the social housing, as conceived by CDC Habitat, adapts to the architecture of the Bordeaux metropolis according to the real estate trends of the moment. Housing policies are all the more central as they are part of the overhaul of the housing sector. In this logic of social solidarity, CDH Habitat forges associative partnerships with social organizations to become more part of local dynamics. This is particularly the case with the introduction of social integration clauses in collective action with the Employment Centre and Adie.
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