Guillaume Kasbarian: A Controversial Choice for Minister of Housing in France

A Wave of Indignation and Concern Surrounding the Appointment

In France, the appointment of Guillaume Kasbarian as Minister of Housing has sparked indignation on the left side of politics and concern among social housing associations. Kasbarian, having no prior experience in the field, is tasked with dealing with a historical crisis involving low production, increasing demand for social housing, and overcrowded emergency facilities. Notably, his anti-squatting law from 2023 faced significant backlash and criticism. Christophe Robert, General Delegate for the Abbé Pierre Foundation, hopes that Kasbarian will pay more attention to the poorly housed citizens and their struggles than he did during the time when he passed this controversial law.

Opposition Voices Decry the Appointment

  • Eddie Jacquemart, President of the National Confederation for Housing – Described the appointment as “a real slap in the face to the entire housing sector” and a “declaration of war against tenants”.
  • Mathilde Panot, leader LFI deputy – Condemned the choice as an insult to millions living in inadequate housing and homeless people.
  • Jacques Baudrier, Paris City Hall’s Housing Department – Stated that Kasbarian is responsible for passing one of the most repressive laws on evictions in decades.
  • Guillaume Gontard, ecologist party leader senator – Mocked Kasbarian as a “minister of eviction”.

Business Organizations Offer Cautious Optimism

Loïc Cantin, president of the National Federation of Real Estate, believes that while Guillaume Kasbarian showed determination and action while working on the anti-squatting law, his effectiveness as Minister of Housing will depend on his roadmap and ability to listen to professionals. He also expressed disappointment in recent announcements from the government which do not adequately address current housing challenges.

The Alliance for Housing’s Demands

The Alliance for Housing, an assembly of professional organizations in the sector, calls for investing resources to revitalize new construction throughout France and boosting housing renovations. They feel that initial government statements fall short of addressing pressing issues that the country’s housing sector faces.

Possible Relaxation of SRU Law Raises Concerns

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal raised eyebrows among social housing advocates by suggesting a relaxation of the SRU law which requires municipalities to meet quotas for social housing. Emmanuelle Cosse, president of the Social Housing Union confederation, called on Kasbarian to abandon any reforms of the SRU law that would harm republican equality.

Expectations from Social Housing Representatives

Emmanuelle Cosse stressed the need to know how the newly-appointed minister plans to cope with the housing crisis and increase production of social housing. While some organizations are cautiously optimistic about working with Kasbarian, only time will tell whether he can appropriately address these pressing concerns.

Hopes for Collaboration and Housing Expansion

The head of the French Building Federation welcomes the renewed focus on a dedicated Minister of Housing and hopes that collaboration with other ministers and the Ministry of Economy will prove fruitful in tackling urgent housing needs. The organization emphasizes the necessity for new housing and renovation initiatives such as “Maprimerénov” to resolve France’s ongoing housing crisis.

Time Will Reveal Kasbarian’s Effectiveness

As Guillaume Kasbarian takes on his new role as Minister of Housing, the reactions from various groups range from strong opposition to cautious optimism. The key challenges he must address include increasing social housing production, renovations, and ensuring appropriate accommodations for all French citizens. Only time will reveal how effectively Kasbarian’s tenure can combat France’s unprecedented housing crisis.