Seeking new roommate aged 18 to 99

By Margaux ColinMike ZenariLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

Older person and young adult. Isn't that a strange kind of shared accommodation? And yet associations, intergenerational residences, or even start-ups in the making, all are trying to mobilise to stem a major problem in Luxembourg ... housing. They explain how they work and what motivates them.

The housing crisis is present in the Grand Duchy; prices are soaring and sometimes beyond the conception of a student budget. "Almost all the students from abroad that I know have had or are having difficulties finding accommodation in Luxembourg, the opposite is rather uncommon", says Clémentine Offner, a student at the University of Luxembourg.

Cohabit'age is an association that lives up to its name. Its goal is simple: to promote intergenerational cohabitation and "respond to a major problem in Luxembourg", that of housing. Founded in 2016, the Esch-based association has three employees and ten volunteers. "The Ministry wanted to encourage the development of projects with a social and solidarity-based dimension in Luxembourg", recalls Moussa Seck, one of the founding members of the association and the current director. "Young people are particularly affected by this problem, especially students." It is while making this observation that the idea came to life: to make young and old people live together, an intergenerational cohabitation as it is more commonly called.

However, for Moussa Seck, this is not a solution that suits everyone. The secret of a successful cohabitation is "motivation, motivation is the key to success". For young people, easy to seduce, it is often a curiosity to experiment. They want to test a new form of cohabitation, as they are often used to the famous student dorms. But for the elderly, it's a completely different matter. Before trying out such an approach, it is often mistrust that takes over. "Welcoming someone you don't know, having to share a part of your intimacy", is always complicated at first, Seck says. The elderly people often have "their own way of life, for example, eating before 7 pm", which is often far from the habits of younger people. "You have to convince the older generation of the usefulness of the project."

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