Voices in Geneva – Social housing: the right wing wants to prioritize Geneva


The Grand Council wants to condition the access to supported property to a presence in the canton for four years. Contested by referendum, the measure will be presented to the people on 13 February.

The Libellules district of Vernier. In total, almost 7,000 people are on the waiting list to get social housing in Geneva.


In Geneva, accommodation is rare and expensive. This crisis (0.49% vacancy) affects all categories of property, including subsidized apartments: Nearly 7,000 people are waiting to get one. The time between registration and allocation is often several years. In this context, the MCG (supported by the right) was given the great advice to pass a law to favor applicants who had been established for a long time in the canton. While to date, in order to seek social housing, it is necessary to justify a continuous presence of two years over the last five years, the party wants to tighten the screw: it defends a continuous presence of four years over the last eight years . The left challenged this unity in a referendum. The people decide on February 13th.

“Extreme uncertainty”

“Residents of Geneva must be a priority,” said Francisco Valentin, president of the MCG. “Despite the favorable conditions, there are also people here in extreme precariousness, especially seniors. We are not saying that others should not be housed. It is not an anti-refugee or anti-poverty law. The message is: you will be accommodated, but not in front of the people of Geneva. “Marc Falquet (UDC) is thus offended that in some cases migrants can get housing before premises.” We should not be ashamed to help our own citizens, “We should not feel guilty. On the contrary, we should be proud.” The two MPs admit that this law alone does not solve the shortcoming. “It is neither a miracle cure nor a drop in the ocean, assesses Francisco Valentin. It is above all a signal to the locals, a lantern on the path of common sense.

“This will clog social hotels”

Conversely, the left considers this project ineffective and deeply discriminatory. Thus, the deputy of the Ensemble à Gauche sees Rémy Pagani in it the proof that “the goodwill of the MCG is hatred”. He defends equal treatment “for all employees” regardless of their length of stay and recalls “the scandal of seasonal workers paying taxes without benefiting from them”. So he refuses to compromise. “Everyone who contributes is entitled to benefits”. Caroline Marti (PS), she stresses that this law “will not solve the problem at all” with overcrowded waiting lists. On the other hand, she observes that people who have recently settled in Geneva will not disappear by magic. ‘Their poor housing is simply being extended. This will clog housing, social hotels, solutions that are extremely expensive for the state.

Sébastien Desfayes, PDC deputy, disputes this, as the law contains the formula “in principle”, which allows exceptions in case of an emergency. “They are already possible and are used today, they will remain so. 20% of the public-law real estate fund park is reserved for these cases. precariousness, small pensions, divorce. I see it as a principle of solidarity and common sense. “

Towards “social tourism”

He puts forward another goal, which marks a dividing line with the left: the desire not to create an air call for “a social tourism that is impossible to deny”, while “the territory is cramped and the finances of the cantons are in bad shape. build social housing to the detriment of the landscape and social diversity. ” Conversely, Green Vice President Christian Bavarel considers the MCG project absurd, as it “does not free up or create new housing: we force people to live in too small, and we create frontier workers”, that their small funds force them to stay. neighboring France.

Prime Minister unfavorable

The ecologist therefore disputes the view from PLR Cyril Aellen, who states that “in all municipalities, PLR mayors want housing to be built for their citizens. What applies to the municipalities must also apply at the cantonal level. It is about building to our children. ” But for Christian Bavarel, this project will precisely prevent Genevans who want to return to live in the canton after a stay in Nyon or in Haute-Savoie after, for example, a divorce. “Having to wait two years for the home is already a long time. So four years … It’s more than the length of the orienteering cycle for a child. “This possible curriculum does not move Marc Falquet.” They chose to live somewhere else, we must assume. You can not win at all points. “

The Council of State is against this law. He estimates that it will not favor the people of Geneva, “as more than 80% of the people waiting for social housing have already been established in Geneva for more than five years”. And he argues that it will not address the current imbalance between social needs and supply. He advocates “a social policy for housing (…) that makes it possible to build housing of all categories”.

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