Etienne Primard

Solidarités Nouvelles pour le Logement (SNL)
Year founded: 

Solidarités Nouvelles pour le Logement aims to enable people who suffer from precarious housing conditions or homeless people to gain access to decent housing.

Focus: housing
Geographic Area of Impact: France
Model: Social Business
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 7,000 people rehoused since 1988
Annual Budget: 14 million euros
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, France, 2012

In 2010, 14.1% of the population of France – or 8.6 million people – were living on less than 964 euros per month. The rate of those living in poverty has today reached its highest level since 1997. There are 3.6 million people without adequate housing in France, including the homeless, those lodging with a third party and those living year-round in tents, hostels or wherever they can find a place to sleep – often in overcrowded and uncomfortable conditions. As the problem grows, slums (“bidonvilles”) and encampments are appearing across the French countryside, demonstrating the urgency of finding a solution.

Innovation and Activities
Solidarités Nouvelles pour le Logement (SNL) aims to enable people who suffer from precarious housing conditions or homeless people to gain access to decent housing. According to Etienne Primard, housing is the basis for integration. By fighting housing problems, Primard contributes to solving other forms of exclusion (e.g. professional, social). The people and their families supported by the association live under the poverty line. These are people who have experienced a disruption in the course of their lives. Solidarités Nouvelles pour le Logement works to help them rebound.

SNL develops social housing through building, acquiring, renovating, providing accommodations to individuals and through bail à réhabilitation, a mechanism that enables owners of buildings in poor condition to have them renovated, without being responsible for their management, by an organization that will then rent them to disadvantaged or vulnerable people. These operations are funded at 10% by individual donations. Afterwards, the association rents these buildings on a temporary basis (on average for 33 months) to disadvantaged people, until they can find long-term housing.

To implement their project, the volunteer teams locate temporary accommodations meant for disadvantaged people and families in their town. Two volunteers from the neighbourhood and a salaried social worker from the association provide support to each rehoused person or family.

To carry out its ambition, SNL has created a fully innovative model, based on citizens’ mobilization. On a technical level, the association has found new sources of housing creation, in particular through the bail à rehabilitation. Diversified funding compensates for decreasing public subsidies. On a social level, SNL adapts its activity to the multiform reality of exclusion by providing its know-how in housing development to associations that support disabled people and creating residences for adults who cannot be reintegrated into society without support.

Since its creation, SNL has helped 7,000 people find long-term housing. SNL’s social impact can be felt on several levels. Through its reintegration action, the association enables children to go to school on a regular basis and helps adults find a job. The association’s actions also have an indirect impact on such issues as health and unemployment.

The Entrepreneur
The last of nine children, Etienne Primard was born on a farm near Paris. In the 1970s, Primard created a building company to give a job to “people that nobody wants” and, without any external help, to demonstrate that it was possible. He created SNL with his brother in 1988 to provide an answer to housing problems. They invented a three-pillar method to which the association still complies: gather and form a local solidarity group; raise funds aimed at creating or renovating transitional accommodation and propose them, for minimal rent, to people who cannot hope to find accommodation on their own; and help tenant families find long-term housing while associating them with the group’s action.