It all starts in Pont-Saint-Esprit in the Gard, in October 1987, during the first Humanitarian Meetings organised by the UN in the framework of the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. Under the high patronage of the Abbé Pierre, these meetings gather parliamentarians, elected representatives, ONG directors and state representatives, all of them concerned by the housing problems facing persons in distress.
André Chaudières, director of the “Logement pour Tous” group (housing for all) and ex-president of HLM ltd declares: “to make a positive contribution to the search for adequate solutions to the housing needs, the Foundation Abbé Pierre for the Housing of the Underprivileged is created. To support the action of the Foundation, the parliamentarians here present decide to create an interparliamentary group at the National Assembly and the Senat. The funding of this foundation will be guaranteed by donations and by bequests, after its recognition as promoting the public interest.”
Following these meetings, the Association for the creation of the Foundation Abbé Pierre (Afap) is officially established and its statutes filed in January 1988. A first extensive poster campaign to raise public awareness to the cause of the badly housed is carried out in some fifty cities on the theme: ‘hey you, what are you doing for the homeless?” on April 30 of that same year, the funding reaches 9 000 000 francs thanks to the generosity of 9 639 donors.
The Afap answers 1300 calls for help in 3 year
Using the first collected funds, the Afap will answer 1300 calls for help in 3 years, open 2 Solidarity Shops in Marseille and Valenciennes and recruit its first employees. From its inception, the Afap draws the attention of public authorities thanks to its founder, always ready to shake consciences: letters to the President of the Republic following the furnished apartments’ fire in Clichy in 1989, telegrams to the President and the Minister of Housing following the eviction of 300 persons, Réunion Square in Paris...
The Official Journal, dated February 15, 1992, published the 11 February 1992 decree, which recognizes the Foundation Abbé Pierre as promoting the public interest, signed by the Prime Minister, Edith Cresson. This decision marks the legal birth of the Foundation Abbé Pierre for the Housing of the Underprivileged.