the department of Seine-Saint-Denis maintained the social link by telephone

“The departmental council switchboard was quickly taken by storm as soon as our reception desks closed on March 17, 2020”, remembers Guillaume Quesnel, director of local services for the departmental council of Seine-Saint-Denis, a large community which employs 8,000 agents and of which only 1,700 were mobilized for the continuity of service. “We therefore first called on volunteer agents to reinforce the workforce and answer the telephone then, based on an idea from the director of the solidarity center, we set up a call service for the most vulnerable users in order to detect emergency and isolation situations. “

A year later, the experiment, the rich results of which have just been published, continues. It is reactivated whenever necessary, for example, these days, to encourage verbally the Sequanodyonisiens to be vaccinated.

From the start of the health crisis, 300 agents with a computer and a smartphone volunteered to call the 50,000 people listed in the social assistance files that the department distributes, holders of the free transport card. Amethyst for people over 60, beneficiaries of the personalized autonomy allowance, the allowance for disabled adults, active solidarity income aged 60 and over …

Read also the tribune: Coronavirus: “Inequalities are killing people in Seine-Saint-Denis today”

The campaign gave rise to more than 26,000 useful interviews and 1,600 reports to the relevant social services. “For example, we were able to identify very lonely people who lacked nothing but company and whom we called back every week., continues Mr. Quesnel. We have also observed many cases of anxiety linked to the Covid, fear of leaving home, of seeing the payment of its allowances interrupted, which the department has however automatically renewed, and detected people who are victims of family or marital violence, which we let us direct towards specialized associations. “

“A great human adventure”

Françoise Abderide, 59, in charge of events and which the crisis has therefore laid off, was one of the most active of these volunteers, making more than 400 calls alone, between April and June: “For me who have already participated in food distributions in my neighborhood, in Stains, it was obvious to participate in the campaign. After having passed the moment of mistrust of the interlocutors, convinced that they are called to sell them something, confidence sets in and the conversation can last from ten minutes to an hour and a half! I remember a family whose father is severely disabled, the mother was sick with the Covid at the time and the walking of the house, shopping, cleaning, care, depended entirely on the 10-year-old girl: I was able to unlock emergency home help “, confides Mme Abderide.

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