“Employee-residents” go door-to-door to help lower energy consumption and bills

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The association VoisinMalin is organizing and strengthening its work to fight fuel poverty with support from the Rexel Foundation

France
December 2016 to December 2017
 

VoisinMalin, an innovative social enterprise, is fighting fuel poverty in working-class neighborhoods by bringing together an ecosystem of players made up of employee-residents, energy suppliers, social housing landlords and other local partners from the public and private sectors. The Rexel Foundation is providing VoisinMalin with financial support and experience to help optimize and multiply its actions in the field.

Objectives

  • Give inhabitants of working-class neighborhoods the keys to becoming aware of their water and energy consumption and help them change their habits;
  • Promote the solutions available: social pricing, local services trained in fuel poverty issues;
  • Assist the least autonomous, while shedding light on the specifics of their behavior in the area of energy consumption: interest shown, perception of messages conveyed, intent to change habits, etc.

An innovative social approach adapted to inhabitants’ needs

VoisinMalin operates in the French priority neighborhoods identified by the Ministry of Urban Affairs (5 million inhabitants), particularly the 200 most vulnerable sites identified by the National Agency for Urban Renewal. These sites account for close to 2 million inhabitants facing numerous difficulties, especially those related to poverty and energy access.

In some neighborhoods, many eligible people do not take advantage of existing assistance programs due to a lack of information, fear of stigmatization, or the complexity of the process. Les VoisinsMalins, employee-residents from the association, meet with these individuals by going door-to-door in order to create personal bonds and provide them with the help they need to fight fuel poverty effectively.

Strengthen the association’s organization in order to multiply its impact

VoisinMalin has already taken action on multiple occasions in the area of water, electricity and gas consumption among close to 4,000 families in 5 cities. Support from the Rexel Foundation will enable the association to continue developing its Fuel Poverty branch in order to:

  • Capitalize on the results and assessment of its previous projects in order to create tools and train teams to replicate the projects;
  • Design a training program for each type of project, as well as a VoisinMalin “fuel poverty” kit including material intended for the inhabitants contacted;
  • Implement the ecosystem of fuel poverty stakeholders thanks to contacts made locally with social landlords and water and energy players;
  • Carry out more door-to-door initiatives in order to raise awareness, assist or inform families about local services and programs in the area of water and energy.

Find out more

VoisinMalin uses a network of resident-leaders in working-class neighborhoods: Les Voisins Malins, who are employed and trained to interact with all inhabitants of their neighborhoods as part of specific projects authorized and paid for by companies or local authorities. They engage in dialogue and provide keys and solutions to practical subjects taken from everyday life (transportation, access to basic rights, health, education, responsible consumption, habitat and living environment). VoisinMalin also advises institutions and companies to help them transform their practices and invent new solutions that are better suited to inhabitants’ needs.

The association is present in the Île-de-France region (Essonne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val d’Oise), in Paris (19th arrondissement) and in Lille-Sud.

 
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