Journal 1 explained the first phase of Home Silk Road. Project partners turned a historic silk industry building, the Jeanne d’Arc Residence, into a hub for culture and inclusion through a temporary occupation prior to demolition and reconstruction. 21 homeless families were living at the temporary Alfred de Musset shelter in a neighbouring building. Social support and engagement and cultural activities were taking place on the site.
This 2nd Journal focuses on phase 2 of the project. A major milestone was the start of the demolition and construction process in Jan 2021. Ultimately, this will transform this area into new residential neighbourhood with more than 300 affordable and social homes, as well as social and cultural spaces. In the meantime, the 21 homeless families have moved into new, high quality modular housing on-site. The modules will stay on the site for the next 3 years whilst construction work continues. They will later be deployed at other locations of the metropolitan area to accommodate vulnerable populations. The site’s central hub and CCO’s base has moved from the Jeanne d’Arc Residence to a neighbouring building where an Information and Orientation Centre has been established.
COVID-19 caused a series of major delays to project implementation, including pushing back the installation of the modular housing by 7 months. The cultural and participatory activities and the plan to open a restaurant on-site have been particularly affected.
Project partner Alynéa has continued to provide social support to the families throughout. Social workers assist residents with access to social rights, employment, education and wellbeing of children, French language and integration into the community. The families have been involved in designing the temporary modules. The social support has been affected by the pandemic, with fewer face-to-face interviews, for example. However, it has been maintained.
Overall, the partners have shown considerable resilience in adapting in the difficult circumstances of lockdown and social distancing.