Since March 2020, Gestia Solidaire has been working to find housing for students, working people or single-parent families who have great difficulty renting privately for lack of a guarantor.
An obstacle course for these audiences, too solvent to be entitled to social housing, that Lyonnais Anne-Sophie and Emmanuel Thomas manage to significantly simplify by finding owners keen to invest in a more social approach.
In one year, the start-up has landed the management of 80 housing units in Lyon, Grenoble and Paris.
They earn too much to claim social housing but do not have enough guarantees to convince traditional real estate agencies. Since March 2020, Gestia Solidaire, a start-up set up by Anne-Sophie Thomas and her brother Emmanuel, has recently been mobilizing in Lyon, Grenoble, and Paris, to give a boost to students, workers or single-parent families who are struggling to find housing for lack of guarantor.
After a professional experience in Lyon in social real estate, Anne-Sophie, 31, wanted to dig and innovate in this direction.
Reading the reports of the Abbé Pierre Foundation on poor housing finally convinced her.
"I was alarmed when I saw that 15 million people were poorly housed in France", confides to
the young woman, who after an MBA in Canada, refined her project with her brother to help these people by difficulty.
Emile was one of them.
Profiles deemed not to be reassuring
This young employee from the Paris region has been living for a month with a friend in an apartment in Montrouge (Hauts-de-Seine). But before getting there, he met with many refusals. “We both work, I'm on minimum wage, my friend is 2,000 euros per month, our parents are guarantors. But despite everything, the agencies, when they see young people arriving, it does not reassure them, ”testifies this 23-year-old tenant who ended up finding accommodation that he likes thanks to the Lyon property management agency.
In one year, the start-up has managed to find 80 housing units for young people, foreign students, temporary workers or even single-parent families, in Lyon, and a few in Grenoble and Paris, where it launched more recently.
To achieve this, she had to find and convince just as many owners to entrust their property to her.
“It's really a win-win system.
We ensure the owner a return on investment with a rent that will cover the charges and, depending on his tax profile, we seek for him tax reductions and work aid from which he can benefit, ”explains Anne-Sophie Thomas ,
Most of the owners who have placed their trust in Gestia have the desire to build up a heritage while wanting to do something good. "The owner acts locally with his property while being assured of profitability", underlines Anne-Sophie Thomas. It is these social values that prompted Magali, owner of a T4 in the Grandclément district of Villeurbanne, to push the door of the “responsible” real estate agency. “It is important to give access to housing to people in difficulty, I was sensitive to that. And at the same time, I am aware that despite our values, we can also be discriminatory. The financial stake is important for a rental investment and we tend to rent to people who look like us, that reassures us ”,confides the young woman who, in order not to fall into this trap, called on Gestia Solidaire.
The start-up analyzed its file so that its investment would be profitable, supported Magali in its tax procedures and found three students for this roommate.
“It's been a year and it's a zero fault.
I find myself there financially and ethically ”, underlines the owner, one of the three bedrooms of her renovated T4 will now be occupied by a Beninese student enrolled in Political Science in Lyon.
In the next five years, the Lyon start-up hopes to have succeeded in developing its network of more responsible real estate agencies and to be also present in Marseille, Lille and in the overseas departments.
This challenge seems achievable if many other owners share the same enthusiasm for the concept that Magali seduced by the idea of making "beautiful housing accessible to all".
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