“An encouragement to take responsibility”: in Lyon, the RSA for young people opens up prospects

“Assistantship” for the opposition, “real boost” for the majority … the ecological metropolis of Lyon launched in May its youth solidarity income (RSJ). An envelope of 400 euros per month for young people without resources and 300 euros if they have activity resources of less than 400 euros, with no time limit up to the age of 25.

“I live with my parents who cannot help me financially, so it will allow me to help them, but also to have prospects”, says Benjamin, 22, whose unemployment rights ended there. little. Too young to touch the RSA, he sees this RSJ “as an encouragement to take responsibility” and a little his life in hand.

Next to him, Salim, 23, arrived in France from Algeria almost two years ago (the system is open to foreigners in a legal situation). Accomodated in emergency, he chained until now the odd jobs without real horizon. “It was difficult to pay for even a public transport or telephone subscription”, explains the one who is still hosted by the AJD foundation, recognized as being of public utility in the field of the protection of the childhood and social support. Salim has just found a job in an integration workshop and sees the 400 euros, which will be paid to him in June, as “a first step” to get out of it.

“First we manage hunger, then we talk about work”

The foundation, one of the structures to have signed a contract with the metropolis to manage these RSJ requests, considers that this tool could bring some young people who have completely dropped out to the world of work. “We are getting closer to the idea of ​​the minimum integration income (RMI) of a few years ago. That is to say, to explain that when someone is hungry, that is what must be managed before saying that he has to work. When you have a full stomach, you can better consider training and job offers. Otherwise, the risk is to turn to something else, including sometimes delinquency, ”explains Maryse Chevalier, general manager of the foundation. The latter’s mission will be to help the young beneficiaries to reintegrate into an employment path.

As for the criticisms on “the assistantship”, the director brushes them aside with a wave of the hand: “It is not at all the reality. The reality is that young people will toil in workshops for three francs six cents because everything that served as a basis for their income, whether catering or culture, fell with the Covid. The reality is that today we are distributing food packages. “

No youth RSA at national level

Bruno Bernard, president of Europe Écologie-les Verts (EELV) of the metropolis of Lyon and initiator of this RSJ, judges this device as “emergency aid making it possible to support young people for a few months in a total slump so that they integrate an existing system. It is an airlock towards something else ”. Offered at the national level, the RSA Jeunes, deemed “ineffective and counterproductive”, was refused by the government. “We do not want a uniform solution, but solutions adapted to the course, profile and difficulties of each,” said Brigitte Klinkert, Minister responsible for Integration.

A choice criticized by the president of the metropolis, who says he “proposed to the Prime Minister to experiment this RSJ with the metropolis of Lyon” to have a complementarity with the “Youth Guarantee” which he considers to be “a very good measure” . “Their answer was no. They say they are not there to help young people, but to find them a job. Yet the two are not opposed. Investing upstream with people in difficulty is relevant in terms of people, but also in terms of finances, ”concludes Bruno Bernard. In Greater Lyon, this RSJ will cost 10 million euros per year and will concern up to 1,500 young people in the territory by the end of 2021.

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