ChamarelThe first inhabitants of the cooperative of inhabitants set up by the Chamarel association moved in in July 2017. Eight months later, residents and project leaders are reviewing the reality of the housing project. 

The Chamarel project began in 2009. It aimed to imagine for the elderly, whose number is growing in France, and whose support is therefore a major issue for the country, an alternative to current choices: staying at home, with all the difficulties it means, for oneself or their family, or moving to a retirement home, where rules are instituted and cannot allow a real autonomy.

In 2010, the project became an association, with the help of the Habicoop association, which aims to rehabilitate the status of inhabitants cooperatives, and defined its objectives:

  • For the elderly to remain an actor of their old age and life
  • Ageing in a caring environment, surrounded by people sharing the same values
  • Exercise citizenship by continuing to participate in the life of the neighborhood, the city, and beyond
  • Engage in a practice of environmental change


The project materialized with the purchase of a land in Vaulx-en-Velin in 2012, "Les Barges", then with the building permit, issued in 2015.

"The Barges" Chamarel has now welcomed its inhabitants for 8 months, in a building of 4 floors, with shared spaces. The building is designed to accommodate disabled people and the vast majority of housing is social housing. Chamarel is fully satisfied with it, and is now taking care of setting up the life in the building, in the respect of the objectives fixed at its beginnings.

This innovative project around cooperative housing shows us a new and viable path in the care of the elderly, which respects individuals and the environment. Although it has encountered some difficulties, its implementation paves the way for other projects of this kind, especially since the ALUR law reintroduced in 2014 the status of the cooperative inhabitants, thanks in particular to the association Habicoop.

Chamarel determined during the realization of the project "Les Barges" the invariants necessary for the establishment of a cooperative of inhabitants:

  • The importance of cooptation, after a period of joint work allowing each party to get to know each other better, and on the basis of defined values ​​rather than on a "friendly" basis. We will be "neighbors", but not necessarily "friends"
  • The importance of the "tools" of governance
  • The importance of Habicoop accompaniment according to the needs of the group
  • The importance of being convinced to convince and ... tenacious


The association finally shows that each cooperative of inhabitants will be different, being defined by the individuals. But the success of such a project, innovative and adapted to the current stakes, makes it possible to imagine that it could be reproducible on a large scale.

// More information


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