Hervé Legros: the housing crisis in Lyon, “it’s a future social bomb”

LyonMag: What makes you think that there is currently a housing crisis in Lyon?

Herve Legros : What makes me say that is the current housing situation in France and, among others, in the Metropolis of Lyon. Today, we have a serious supply problem since we have been building much less housing since 2017. Real estate is therefore no longer accessible to everyone: waiting times for social housing are getting longer and prices explode. Unfortunately, this problem is present throughout the territory, especially in the large tense areas.

How does this housing crisis risk becoming, in your words, “a social bomb”?

Because today, housing is the number one expense for French households and can represent up to 60% of their budget. The accommodations are too expensive and not suitable. Moreover, the Yellow Vests crisis started, at the base, from housing. These are people who have been driven away from cities and their workplaces because real estate was already too expensive. We made them dream of a better life in a house far from Lyon, but today there is no means of transport except the car and the price of petrol is skyrocketing. It’s a vicious circle. There are thus thousands of people who can no longer find accommodation in the Metropolis. The crisis we are going through is deep and terrible because it is silent. People are exposed every month. With the Covid crisis and the current war in Ukraine, indeed, the future social bomb is housing.

But in reality, are the poorest the only ones affected by this housing crisis?

No, even the middle classes can no longer find adequate housing. We can also talk about students: in Lyon, we no longer house them properly and we don’t build enough student accommodation. Unfortunately, too often there are problems in Crous residences which are outdated, unsuitable and very expensive. There is also a problem of housing for the elderly.
No, it concerns a large part of the population today. The middle classes are finding it increasingly difficult to find housing at a reasonable price. Students struggle to find accommodation and the construction of student residences is insufficient if we omit the existing Crous residences which are often old, unsuitable and very expensive. Even the elderly are now affected by this crisis. The question of housing is now everywhere.

What do you reproach to politicians and communities concretely?

The problem is first and foremost that of a lack of governmental and therefore national ambition. The crisis we are going through is explained by years of failure to take this housing issue into account by politicians, which has considerable repercussions at the local level. For example, in 2017, we were building 13,000 housing units in Lyon, but we fell to less than 3,000 in 2021. I believe that if the population had had access to more housing, and therefore cheaper and closer to their place of work , they would have less purchasing power problems today.

What are your demands, your demands towards the local and national executives?

We would like the executive to grant housing in France a full ministry. We are also calling for an ambitious housing policy, providing for the construction each year of one million accessible housing units for all budgets. Finally, we call for the decentralization of housing policy to the local level.

In the long term, if politicians do nothing to resolve this crisis, what are the concrete risks?

If we take measures today, in the spring of 2022, the effects of these decisions will not arrive before 2026 or 2027. It is already too late. We have accumulated too much delay for seven, eight years. You have to put in a lot more effort because you won’t solve anything with a magic wand. Tomorrow, to resolve this crisis, we must launch a Marshall plan for housing construction.

Is this crisis unprecedented in your opinion?

The crisis we are experiencing is as serious, if not more so, than the crisis of 1958 with the appeal of Abbé Pierre. We are there, it is unheard of. The crisis of supply, the crisis of poor housing and the crisis of the price of housing as we are experiencing them, these are crises that have never been known, it is undeniable.

You, as a property developer, what are you doing at your level to try to resolve this crisis?

Alila is the leader in Housing For All. Indeed, 90% of our production per year, out of 8,000 housing units, corresponds to social housing or intermediate housing intended for the middle classes. Today, Alila offers a housing solution for this population. 83% of the French population is eligible for social or intermediate housing. We are the spokesperson for all these people who are poorly housed and in great difficulty. We, Alila, talk about people, inhabitants. This is why we want to highlight the reality of the need for new housing construction.
Today, as President of a large group like Alila, I am in contact with the executives of the Métropole de Lyon, and the government in place, regardless of their political color. Alila is unaffiliated but is a housing policy maker.

In your opinion, the solution to this crisis is therefore to build affordable new housing for all budgets?

Construction has been halted nationally for five years. We must therefore launch a call for construction, even if the results will not be visible before 2026. We can go a little faster by transforming offices into housing, for example. But anyway, today, to get out of this situation, we must relaunch the production of new housing, and assume the densification of our metropolises, even if it means raising the existing one.

Interview by MN

We would love to give thanks to the author of this article for this outstanding web content

Hervé Legros: the housing crisis in Lyon, “it’s a future social bomb”

You can find our social media pages here and other pages on related topics here.https://kjovi.com/related-pages/