Supporting 18-25 Year-Olds Through Long-Term Mentoring Plus Financial Assistance in France (Pass' Accompagnement)
High unemployment, low wages, and expensive rents prevent many young adults from acquiring long-term housing. In France, researchers are evaluating the effect of a financial independence and social integration program for young adults living in government-subsidized housing. They are analyzing its impact on the young adults’ professional lives, housing situations, financial independence, and general welfare.
High unemployment, low wages, and expensive rents prevent many young adults from acquiring long-term housing in parts of Europe. Additionally, insufficient work experience, familial and social difficulties, and a lack of formal training often further compound the problems faced by such individuals. Some argue that these conditions trap many young adults in a situation that they are incapable of changing without outside help. In response to these concerns, many European states facilitate social sector housing that lowers the cost of rent to a more affordable level. The goal of these social accommodations is to support struggling young adults in their efforts to obtain sustainable employment and housing.
Context of the evaluation
In 2004 the French social sector offered 4.2 million units (17 percent of the country's housing stock) at 30 to 40 percent below private market rates.1 Despite these provisions, demand for housing (both public and private) in the Bas-Rhin department of Alsace is still greater than the supply. Currently, the main existing measure in France that allows young people to rent an apartment is a housing benefit that subsidizes part of the rent. These grants are assigned to students and applicants with a demonstrated need for financial resources. In 2010, the General Council of Bas-Rhin began offering 18-25 year olds residing in the Bas-Rhin department access to Pass' Accompagnment, a program which aims to improve the financial independence and social integration of 1,000 young adults in the Bas-Rhin.
Details of the intervention
In collaboration with the Haut Commissariat aux Solidarits Actives Contre la Pauvret (the French Ministry for Active Solidarity against Poverty), researchers will measure the impact of the new Pass' Accompagnement program. The evaluation will consist of two waves, each of which consists of a randomly selected treatment group of 300 and comparison group of 400 young adults from a total pool of 700 youth identified as being in "a precarious situation." Members of the comparison group will not participate in the program.
Those that are randomly selected to participate in the program will be assigned a unique social worker with the task of advising them in matters of employment, education, and housing over the course of two years. If program participants rent their apartments, the General Council makes a commitment to their landlord that they will pay the rent if the participant fails to do so over the next two years. Additionally, participants are given an €1800 grant which can be spent on a variety of things, including interview clothing, drivers licenses, etc depending on the social worker's assessment. This flexible design is intended to allow the program to address the specific needs of each participant.
Members of both the treatment and comparison group will be evaluated for a period of three years to determine the impacts of the program on professional integration, housing, independence, and general welfare.
Results and policy lessons