The Hameau des Chemineaux – a holiday for the homeless

2008 - 2017

The Hameau is a holiday village on the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland, and operates on the principle that everyone – however socially or economically disadvantaged – has the right and need to a vacation and the mental wellbeing it provides. It is designed to welcome the homeless and provides them with an opportunity to take a break from their daily routine, pressures, shortages and frustrations.

The village, which can accommodate ten overnight guests, is made up of brightly decorated caravans transformed into workshops and entertainment areas.

Some 15-30 day visitors take advantage of the Hameau’s activities, which are managed by volunteers and social workers and other professional staff. Visitors can enjoy an open-air cinema, cycling, soccer matches, concerts and poetry readings. Each week, especially in summer, guests can participate in the now traditional campfire guitar nights.

A new renewable energy heating system has made embroidery, painting and other creative indoor workshops available all year round. Guests help care for facilities and gardens and take part in preparing the food. Together they meet, talk, share their experiences and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere that promotes social relationships, builds resilience and restores guests’ trust in people.

Project highlights




cards and ball games

pizza night

artistic workshops



homeless people supported each week


people attended psychosocial activities each month

5,000 lunches/1,400 breakfasts

prepared for homeless


volunteers participate in the activities each week