The Generalitat will reinforce the policies to deal with homelessness in Catalonia with an extraordinary million euros and will also subsidize the Fundació Arrels, which at the end of October warned that it was in a difficult economic situation due to inflation and the increase in users. The measures, announced this Tuesday by the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonesand the Minister of Social Rights, Carlos Campuzano, They arrive when the Catalan strategy to deal with homelessness approved in March has to begin to bear its first fruits.
Aragonès has remarked that homelessness is “a reality that cannot be ignored by society or governments” and has recognized the work of Arrels in the fight against poverty. The Government will allocate €211,000 to the entity for the promotion of the Peers project, based on the experience of people who have left the street situation and accompany others who have not yet. Aragonès has also advanced that they will work to facilitate their access to housing and benefits such as Guaranteed rent and the Minimum Vital Income.
The Government will allocate 211,000 euros to Arrels
Campuzano has described homelessness as one of the “most serious problems” facing Catalonia at a social level and has recognized that the effectiveness of policies must be improved. Until 2025, 47 million will be allocated to the municipalities, which are the ones that implement most of the measures. In addition, Campuzano has explained the joint work with the Agència de l’Habitatge de Catalunya to alleviate a residential exclusion linked to the “serious housing problem” that exists.
New counts to design policies
In March, the Government approved a framework of action to deal with homelessness that established coordination with all municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, which will have to facilitate periodic counts of homeless people, the first step in addressing the issue. The first data is expected to arrive in a few weeks.
The Government announced the plan the day after the death of a family in the fire at the place where they lived in Plaza Tetuán, which evidenced the poverty and exclusion in the center of Barcelona. Shortly after, a law drafted by the academic world and the third sector that contemplates eradicating homelessness in five years but that has not yet seen the light of day, with the expectation that it will be approved during 2023, entered into the process in Parliament.
A pioneering law for homelessness is currently being processed in Parliament
One of the main difficulties when carrying out these policies is the lack of data about how many people are on the street. Campuzano has framed it in the “volatility” of the situation of the homeless and their mobility, and has remarked that “it is not a fixed and permanent photograph.”
For this reason, one of the main points of the action framework is a periodic count in the different municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. The first data will arrive shortly, and in principle they will be updated every six months.
When this strategy was approved, the Generalitat presented the results of a survey of more than 780 municipalities in Catalonia. The report revealed that homelessness is concentrated in large cities, that there are some 5,600 homeless people in Catalonia and some 5,400 living in shelters, and almost 50,000 in a situation of eviction or with problems paying the rent for their home.
A new Arrels facility in Barcelona
Aragonès and Campuzano have made the announcement in the framework of a visit to the new facilities of the Fundació Arrels, the Llars Tere Villagrasa, in Barcelona. It consists of 10 individual floors for the homeless and will soon also incorporate a zero floor, which is low-demand equipment for spending the night.
The extraordinary million, from the Catalan fund of lotteries that is allocated to social issues, will be allocated to various actions with special emphasis on the female homelessness and people with chronic illnesses or other special needs. The objective is to reduce the number of people who sleep on the street and reinforce the accompaniment of those who are already working with entities.
Aragonès has highlighted the need for the budgets in Catalonia to be approved to include new social measures, a project under negotiation with PSC and Junts and which is facing a key week. The proposal already agreed with the Comuns has a social shock plan that includes an 8% increase in the Sufficiency Income Indicator, which is used to calculate social benefits, as well as the extension during 2023 of the current reductions in rates of public transport.