“The information that you used was that which was passed to you by others on the street”

Joaquín and Carlos collaborated on the production of the guide Living on the street in Barcelona that we just published at Arrels, and that is made for people who live in the street. Joaquín and Carlos have been through this experience and, with three others, have provided a series of practical tips that do not appear in conventional guides and that in times of need can be very useful.

How long did you live on the street?

  • J. 14 months.
  • C. More than two years.

Why did you want to help with the making of the guide?

  • C. The guides they gave were obviously very useful, but sometimes the addresses didn’t exist or the hours had changed. The information that you used was that which was passed to you by others on the street. With this guide, we elaborated and wanted to go further.
  • J. I wanted to help so that my experience could serve others. I realized that word of mouth was the best way. For example, food: at this place they feed until 5 p.m., but you arrive at 5 p.m. and it turns out that there’s no room or they have closed the queue. You have to go before.
  • C. and J. One important thing we did to expand on this guide is that, in the meetings, we insisted that what a friend told us didn’t matter, it mattered what we had lived directly.

When you lived on the street, what resource did you miss the most?

  • C. For me, the bathroom. This, on the street, I had it bad.
  • J. Coffee. Drinking coffee in the morning. I was used to starting the day with a coffee, although it seems silly. Until I discovered that Mondays at a fast food chain in the city center, they give out free coffee.

Do you think there is a resource that does not exist but should exist?

  • J. Housing and transportation. Housing is obvious. But help with transportation is a basic need when you are on the street. How is there no card that can be given to you when you’re on the street, without any income?
  • C. Last year, I asked Reyes for T-10 cards. They brought me 10 cards and you have no idea how much that helped.

Is there a resource that exists but that you think is insufficient?

  • J. The showers. They’re insufficient. And the food. It’s not the amount of food that’s insufficient, but the diet is bad for your health. There is an excess of carbohydrates and a lack of protein.
  • C. The quality of the dining rooms. It’s declined a lot, in quantity and quality.

Do you think that if you had had this guide, life on the street would have been easier?

  • C. Yes, so much. More time to look for work, to get organized… Looking for resources takes up a lot of time, to the point that I started to sleep on the street working. If I had had this guide, maybe I wouldn’t have lost my job. I lasted 45 days. I was crazy about trying to change my clothes, to take a shower. By the end, my shirt was black.
  • J. Yes, until you solve your concerns about sleeping, washing, eating, et cetera, it keeps you busy all day. I think that preference should be given to people who are about to lose their jobs due to the situation they are living in and prevent themfrom ending up in the street and losing their jobs.

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