Inflation. « I can’t get up the slope »: report in a budget advice point

Vaulx-en-Velin (Rhône), special correspondent.

That Monday, it was in Vaulx-en-Velin that the blue van of the Departmental Union of Family Associations (Udaf) of the Rhône decided to make a stop to meet the inhabitants who would have trouble making ends meet. their end of the month.

Launched in 2020 by the government following the movement of yellow vests, budget advice points like this one aim to offer all audiences personalized advice on managing their finances. The idea is in particular to prevent the phenomena of over-indebtedness.

« A kind of no man’s land of existing aid »

Here, there is no question of making people in difficulty feel guilty about their lifestyle, but the solutions sometimes seem difficult to find. “We try to give a boost or refer to legal social services when needed. But we sometimes find ourselves confronted with our own powerlessness in the face of people who are in a kind of no man’s land in terms of existing aid.explains Bénédicte Voisin, counselor in social and family economy, who claims to find herself « more and more faced with people who can no longer play on expenses ». “The other day, I found myself advising a lady to put her accommodation on Airbnb”she underlines, still bewildered.

In this context, inflation further aggravates the situation of families who are a little tight in terms of budget. “For ten years, we have seen files of people who go into debt for current expenses, such as water or electricity. And since the Covid, we alerted the Banque de France to the return of consumer credit”points out the social worker.

For her, no measure such as an energy check or one-off bonus would be likely to improve the daily lives of the people she follows. “Their problem is more serious than that: a political choice must be made to control energy prices, cap rents and build social housing”she believes.

That day, it was Enver (1), 65, who pushed the door of the van to try to escape the spiral of impoverishment that was gripping him and his family. A former bus driver, this French naturalized Kosovar has worked in France for more than twenty years. After a serious work accident in 2012, where one of his colleagues got into the bus he was driving, Enver suffered from paralysis of the diaphragm but also from psychological trauma and neurological sequelae causing him discomfort. severe. After several relapses, the health insurance decided to stop his work accident compensation. “They stopped paying me in October 2019, telling me that I had to retire”he explains to Bénédicte Voisin.

Collect rainwater

Out of the question for this workaholic, who refuses to hang up until he is 67 years old. Except that the domino effect of this cessation of compensation is heavy: the insurance of his mortgage – contracted to build his house – does not work in this case. Result: Enver must continue to repay 1,127 euros each month. And this month, it fell into the red: the household bank account shows an overdraft of more than 1,000 euros.

His only resources: a quarterly disability pension of 1,450 euros, which the former bus driver receives for a previous work accident, and the salary of his wife, a childminder, which is around 1,050 euros monthly. Between household expenses and income, Bénédicte takes out her calculator – Enver has all the sums in mind to the nearest euro – and arrives at this problematic result: 1,633 euros of income for 1,650 euros of charges, and this without counting food.

“Every month, it gets worse, I can never get back on track”, he admits. However, Enver sought to cut back on all that it was possible to cut back: he collects rainwater in a well for all the uses of non-drinking water; in winter, he collects wood for heating; he spends little on food, thanks to his vegetable garden and food tickets from the CCAS of Vaulx-en-Velin. And he has multiplied the appeals against Social Security, but also against his credit insurance organization which refuses to take over.

But his fighting spirit so far has not paid off. « I’m just looking for a little oxygen, enough to spend three to four months before credit insurance finally respects its contract », he hopes. After considering more or less makeshift solutions, Bénédicte suggests calling Enver’s bank to try to renegotiate the reimbursement of his drafts – no financial aid being applicable to him as it stands. They will meet again for a next appointment, hoping that this one can succeed in helping him get his head out of the water.


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