1986 A group of 30 representatives coming from various institutions in Barcelona convene to consider how to attend to marginalised people without demanding personal and sensitive information like their name, their national identity card, etc. The result is an idea for a 24-hour walk-in centre that could attend to 50 people. More than 35 locations are considered. The foundation’s first publication is put together: an information leaflet intitled “Centre Obert Arrels” (Arrels Walk-In Centre)
The group participates in the creation of Fundació Sant Pere Claver and opens a walk-in centre with the help of 30 volunteers. Doors are open 2 hours in the afternoon (4pm-6pm) where visitors find a space measuring 60m2 that includes a lounge, a TV set, small kitchen, 1 shower room, cloakroom, and a medicine cabinet. Still needed is a sanitation system for service users. The debate of how to deal with homelessness goes on. The need for human relationships is stressed as a key element to attending to homeless people.
1988The Centre annexes the building next-door to measures 200m2. The new living area is a comfortable 80m2, and 4 showers are added. A core group in charge of the Centre’s operations is formed and the first employee is hired. Càritas provides services from a social worker four hours a week. The Foundation publishes an informative leaflet called “Arrels Informa” (Arrels Informs). The Foundation also receives its first public subsidy.
1989The Hospital and Street teams are formed. The Walk-In Centre registers 11,000 visits this year. A cloakroom service is created to meet a growing demand.
Homelessness in Barcelona is a more and more pressing problem. The demand for showers grows quickly, as does the need for social pressure. The number of volunteers fortunately grows as well and more staff is hired. Arrels start the Refuge on the 12th of September where Mr Pere Barnés passes away suddenly on the 15th of the same month.
1991 4 programmes were already working. The Ideari was debated and consensus was reached.
1992 The pre-olympic euphoria allows the creation of a flat for people that work to find a stable exit from homelessness. It worked until 1994 when the residents lose financial independence and required dedication that could not be met. The structure of coordinators for daytimes and teams was started.
1993 The premises for the current open centre and offices in Carrer Riereta and of the Llar Pere Barnés, al carrer Puig i Xoriguer, were purchased. They constituted 2,300m2 in need of restoration.
1994 The Open Centre moved to Carrer Riereta, 24 during a process of adjustment to the situation the organisation. The Centre Obert and Refugi teams are separated and a person was dedicated to internal structure. The foundational statement of the Llar Pere Barnés is written down.
1997 A new management team was formed by 3 volunteers and 3 members of the contracted staff. The deaprtments of Direct Attention, Communication, and Internal Management are created.
1998 Constitution of Arrels Fundació. The first important Christmas campaign was organised with 13,000 information leaflets sent. At that point we had 120 donor members, and we were thinking of increasing the social base to gain greater independence from public administration.
1999 The Refugi Project evolved into the creation of the Access to Housing Programme. There were improvements in organisational structure, internal services and economic stability, aspects which result in better servicces for homeless people. We were convinced that information and the reputation of the organisation facilitated the task of raising awareness and social condemnation of homelessness.
2001 On 22d May “La Troballa", Arrels’ occupational workshop, began to operate.
2003 A social educator moved to coordinate the Street Team.
2004Solidaridad 2004 Award. On 8th February we received this prize awarded by the Human Rights Institute of Catalunya. The prize is given to award people or institutions who have stood up for ther fight in defense of human rights in the context of Catalunya.
2005 185 volunteers, 80 people accommodated and 6 rented flats, more than 5,500 people assisted since 1987. The Social Welfare Municipal Council awards Arrels with a second Prize to Media for the booklet “La Casa de la Lluna”, a collection of life stories of a selection of homeless people, published by Cristianisme i Justícia. In the same year, El Periódico de Catalunya gives Arrels the Iniciativa solidària Award.
2006 Volunteers and professionals reflect on the Mission, Vision and Values of Arrels. There is a significant increase in the number of schools visiting Arrels: 2,035 children and teenagers attended our informative talks.
2007 The Llar Pere Barnés, a facility with 30 places intended for people in situations of emergency and for short-term stays is aimed at socially excluded people and was inaugurated on 29th November. Alongside Assis Centre d'Acollida, Companyia de les Filles de la Caritat and Orde Hospitalària de Sant Joan de Déu, we kickstarted Fundació Mambré, in order to open new paths to making work and accommodation available. We inaugurated the blog Des del carrer in the Mapamundi section of El Periódico to raise awareness about homelessness amongst the public.
2008 Arrels attended 1.254 people, 23,7% more than in 2007, one of the most significant increases in recent years. The night of March 12th a nocturnal count of the homeless was carried out in Barcelona, organised by the Foundation "Un Sol Món" of Caixa Catalunya. 950 people were counted sleeping rough.
2009 On the 3rd of September Josep Maria Pañella, one of Arrels' founders, died at the age of 68. We remembered him during the presentation ceremony of the Alfonso Comín International Award, which was awarded to Arrels in recognition of our work. The programme Empreses que donen sostre (Companies which give roofs), an iniciative to carry out projects in collaboration with companies, was started up.
The group participates in the creation of Fundació Sant Pere C1aver from which we obtained legal status and opens a walk-in centre with the help of 30 volunteers. Doors are open 2 hours in the afternoon (4pm-6pm) where visitors find a space measuring 60m2 that includes a lounge, a TV set, small kitchen, 1 shower room, cloakroom, and a medicine cabinet. Still needed is a sanitation system for service users. The debate of how to deal with homelessness goes on. The need for human relationships is stressed as a key element to attending to homeless people.