We, Collectif Solidarités Cusset, have occupied a vacant building at 4-6 rue de l’Egalité in Villeurbanne since Wednesday 18 November. We are a neighborhood collective bringing together residents of Cusset. Since the first lockdown, we have decided to organize ourselves collectively in the face of the health and social situation in order to propose a concrete and popular solidarity with the most precarious: students, unemployed, undocumented workers, workers, large families, retired people…
For 4 months, we tried to contribute to the food and health emergency by distributing food and hygiene products in the form of a free market, with the support of several associations in town. Over these 4 months, twice a week, we held these distributions, and it is more than 80 families and isolated people that we helped.
Strengthened by this experience and the multiple links that we have built, we re-mobilized at the beginning of this second lockdown, notably through the organization of marauds. These allowed us to see that our means were not equal to the great precariousness in which too many people found themselves, especially those who had no housing.
This is why we decided to occupy a building that has been empty for many years, located at 4-6, rue de l’égalité, in Villeurbanne. This occupation is fully in line with our previous actions, while allowing us to expand the range of our activities. It also follows an official request for premises by the collective to the Villeurbanne Town Hall in September, whose response was unsatisfactory in view of the conditions we were requesting. We can hope for the support of the city council following the Declaration of the Rights of Homeless People that it adopted in city council on October 12, 2020 and which stipulates that: “Any shelter, whether it is makeshift or provided, must be recognized and respected as such” (article 2).
In its habitable part, this place will house people in need of housing. On the first floor, we will set up the premises of the Collectif Solidarités Cusset as well as spaces dedicated to activities that meet the real needs of the neighborhood: tutoring, tools to bridge the digital divide, administrative assistance for the most isolated, reception area, solidarity canteen…
In the face of the major economic crisis and the government’s attacks on freedom and liberty, we want to open a place that is at the service of our neighborhood and anchored in it, where everyone can feel at ease. We want an open space, where solidarity is built through collective initiatives, and where discrimination and authoritarianism will have no place. Allowing such a place to exist is already resisting the current policies of impoverishment.
In order to restore the building and start our activities as soon as possible, we need a number of things, hence the call for donations.
Let’s organize the solidarity of our neighborhoods!
Le Collectif Solidarités Cusset
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Groups (collectives, social centres, squats) in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR
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