BSE in Emmaüs furnishes homes for insecure people

Banque Solidaire de l’Equipement d’Emmaüs enables people in precarious conditions who have access to their first home to adjust to low prices. A significant step towards well-being and self-esteem.

After spending six months at the Palais de la Femme, a social residence for isolated women in Paris, Yaba Brigitte Cissé, a 36-year-old caregiver, was able to find housing. However, having a roof over your head is not enough: you still need to be able to feel good there. ” It was absolutely necessary to furnish everything I needed for everything! “, she remembers.

When financial resources are lacking, it is sometimes an obstacle course to equip oneself. To facilitate this ordeal, his social worker has a solution: Banque Solidaire de l’Equipement (BSE). This service, created in 2012 by Emmaüs Défi, collects new unsold goods and resells them at low prices to households that have access to independent housing after a precarious situation.

“Our goal is to get them to tell us what they like and dislike. »

We would avoid excessive indebtedness, or people living in a camp for months because it compromises the possibility of staying longer. The less a person takes ownership of their home, the faster it deteriorates says Marianne Yvon, head of Banque Solidaire de l’Equipement. A question for social landlords therefore, but also for the well-being of future tenants.

Marc Breviglieri, sociologist and associate professor at the Western Switzerland University of Applied Sciences confirms this: ” Furnishing is to create a sensitive world that touches the comfortable, and therefore this world takes care in a way of the resident who feels good there. Translation: Choosing your furniture and equipping your home with dignity allows you not only to live, but to live well.

Household linen, tableware, mattresses, small furniture, kitchen utensils … In their stores, BSE employees welcome future tenants, no more than three months after their installation. It is not easy to project oneself when one has lived in collective housing like Yaba Brigitte. That is why the showroom’s interest is, explains Marianne Yvon: ” We do not ask users for supporting documents, we consider them customers. Our goal is to get them to tell us what they like or dislike. »

Strengthen self-esteem and social integration

Before they can stroll through the store shelves, future customers make a budget item with their social workers. Since the goal is to get out for free, customers pay for all their purchases. Depending on their budget, together they define the necessary equipment, ” so as not to put them in difficulty “, Clarifies Marianne Yvon.

Yaba Brigitte Cissé had a budget of around 800 euros to furnish her entire apartment when she walked in the doors of BSE. ” It was my living room and my kitchen that worried me. I needed kitchen utensils, a dining table, a coffee table “, she remembers. The caregiver is surprised by the quality of the furniture the store offers, which has nothing to do with a thrift store.” I thought everything would be old-fashioned, but no! I was blown backwards “, Adds Yaba Brigitte. This quality is made possible thanks to the many brands that provide new products from unsold stock, customer tour or the end of the series.

Among the largest partners, we find Maisons du Monde, which donates thousands of products in perfect condition every year. ” “Being able to offer beautiful products like those from Maisons du Monde perfectly matches our desire to restore the esteem and sense of material comfort of the people supported in the equipment of their new home”, points out Aurore Ruffier, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Emmaüs.

Among Yaba’s favorites is a sofa worth 150 euros. Thanks to the low prices offered by BSE, which average 20% of market prices, households save on average 1,000 euros. Nevertheless, this service not only saves money, Marianne Yvon emphasizes: “ We have conducted a study of child welfare young people who come to their first home. Thanks to BSE, they allow themselves to receive people at home, their family, friends and be proud of them. An observation shared by sociologist Marc Breviglieri: ” Accommodation to one’s liking is a condition of hospitality for others. Taking home and giving hospitality strengthens the self-esteem of others. This is a factor of social integration. Since she moved into her 52-meter apartment, Mrs Cissé has invited her friends, who “ loved the couch! ».

In 2021, the Banque Solidaire de l’Equipement sold 69,000 items of equipment in its stores in Paris, Aubervilliers, Villeurbanne, Roubaix and Toulouse, delivered to individuals by Emmaus’ companions.


This article is from ” Beautiful and responsible », A complete dossier produced by L’ADN in collaboration with Maisons du Monde. To access the other content that composes it, here it is!

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