the aid association for the homeless “La Barque” doomed to disappear?
The Town Hall of Toulouse will soon take possession of the premises on the island of Ramier, until then ready for the day care association for homeless people La Barque. Without a new relocation proposal, the president fears that the organization will disappears.
” I’m mad. The bark is a family association, and it will disappear”, is moved the president, Carmen Creyssels. Created in 1979 in Toulouse, this structure has occupied premises on the Ile du Ramier for nearly 20 years to welcome homeless people three afternoons a week. “Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, around forty precarious people come here to rest, chat over a drink, a snack, or play board games explains the president, surrounded by a dozen volunteers.
Only, on June 16, a phone call from the Town Hall of Toulouse made the glass ring. “A lady explained to me that we were going to have to leave the premises before the end of the year, without giving us a date or a precise reason “says the octogenarian in a trembling voice.
From Rue Peyrolières to Ile du Ramier
From the 1980s to 2005, La Barque occupied premises on rue Peyrolières, in the center of Toulouse. “Our association has obviously embarrassed local residents and tradersso the Town Hall offered to move us to the current premises, at 11 avenue Gabriel Biénès”, remembers Carmen Creyssels.
Some fears accompanied this change of address, in particular because of the distance from the city center. But the concerns were quickly dissipated, the premises of the island of Ramier being, “larger, very well equipped and having an adjoining courtyard”, describes the president. Moreover, the structure is today located about ten minutes walk from a solidarity restaurant. “Many have lunch there before going to La Barque and sharing a moment of conviviality. We are a second, or even a first, home for the poorest,” she continues.
No relocation for the association
“No one can imagine our dismay,” slips Carmen Creyssels. The president indicates that the Town Hall of Toulouse asked them to leave the premises, without making a proposal for free relocation to new premises. ” We’ll have to pay rent somewhere else, but the only subsidies we receive amount to 1,000 euros by part of the municipality to finance the purchase of drinks and foodstuffs at the Food Bank. How do we award rent? she asks.
For its part, the Town Hall affirms that “the municipal management of solidarity has contacted the president of the Barque for theto help find solutions, in particular by sharing premises with other associations “. Proposals were therefore made, but were not accepted. “I am really not in favor of pairing La Barque with another structure. Most of the volunteers are seniors. We have our beneficiaries, too, we are a big family and I don’t want that to change, ”reacts Carmen Creyssels.
Green lung of Toulouse
But then, why does the town hall of Toulouse want to regain possession of its premises? The answer lies in the project “Grand Parc Garonnefrom Toulouse Métropole. Indeed, the objective of this project is to redevelop the banks of the Garonne, to create nearly 3,000 hectares of green space, over a length of 32 kilometres. Ramier Island, on which the association La Barque is now installedmust also be rehabilitated, to become “a vast green lung”, according to the municipalityin which the inhabitants could “walk, play sports, discover the fauna and flora of the island”.
In the north of the island, a “nature area”, equipped with sports equipment and vegetable gardens, was completed in 2020 by Jean-Luc Moudenc. To the south, thePoudrerie eco-park has been laid out like a large space of unspoiled nature. Then in the center, the destruction of the former exhibition center (moved to the MEETT) will give way to a large public park of seven hectares, integrating a botanical garden and an esplanade which will host cultural and sporting events. The premises of La Barque are just next door. For nowthe Town Hall did not specify whether they would be destroyed, or transformed, during the development of the site.
The Capitol adds that these reasons will soon be explained to the members of the association by means of an “official letter”, which will also specify the closing date of the premises. “The services of the Town Hall remain at their disposal and are ready to accompany them”, finished the municipality. But without new proposals for rehousing, Carmen Creyssels fears a “pure and simple death” of her association.