In 2016, there were 58,930 people in a situation of homelessness and residential exclusion in Catalonia, of which 2,531 people were living directly on the street. The data comes from 786 Catalan municipalities and are collected within the Framework of Action for Addressing Homelessness in Catalonia 2022-2025. A roadmap approved in 2022 by the Government of Catalonia to establish a common model of care towards homeless people.
To make #nobodysleepingonthestreet possible, we need the involvement of the Catalan government to act as an umbrella and to accompany, train and provide the necessary resources to the municipalities. In this sense, in the medium and long term, it is necessary to:
The right to housing, privacy, rest, mobility, public space, hygiene, physical integrity, and to keep in a safe and stable place their belongings and documentation are some of the rights that homeless people see violated.
We made a list of some short-term proposals from a Catalan perspective.
Approbation by the Parliament of Catalonia of the proposed law to address the most chronic homelessness.
In 2022, the Government of Catalonia approved the Framework for Action to Address Homelessness in Catalonia 2022-2025. We urge the political groups present in the Parliament of Catalonia and the Catalan Government to go further and commit themselves by approving by law the proposed legal text of transitional and urgent measures to address and eradicate homelessness, which social organizations and the academic world presented in Parliament in January 2022. The objective is that each municipality can take care of its homeless neighbors and that it is guaranteed with adequate laws and budgets.
To know how many people are homeless in Catalonia.
The government of Catalonia should promote the realization of counts and censuses in the different municipalities to know how many people live on the street and improve the policies to combat homelessness. This is an action that is included in the Framework for Action to Address Homelessness approved by the Government in 2022. From Arrels, we propose to focus on Catalan municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants, since they host more than 70% of the Catalan population and it would be a first step to evaluate and measure the problem.
Simplify the procedures for obtaining basic documentation and the register of inhabitants.
To have faster access to the rights and social care homeless people need, we propose simplifying the administrative procedures and taking into account the situation and difficulties of people living on the street. In this sense, the Government of Catalonia should ensure that all Catalan municipalities guarantee the registration of their neighbors even if they live on the street, since registration is the starting point for access to many rights. This can be done by using the public network of social services, involving them in accompanying homeless people from the beginning to facilitate the process and help them to be accredited.
Guarantee by law the opening of decent residential spaces in each municipality so that hundreds of people stop sleeping on the streets.
The proposed law, that social organizations and the academic world have developed and that is currently being worked on in the Parliament of Catalonia, considers a basic pillar to address homelessness to have decent residential spaces and spaces for emergency overnight in the Catalan municipalities. These are open accommodations all year round, located in each territory and that would allow us to attend homeless people from the proximity to each of them. We ask the Parliament of Catalonia to approve the law and this measure.
The Framework of Action for Addressing Homelessness approved for the years 2022-2025 also establishes as one of its strategic lines of intervention the acquisition of decent residential spaces as “an essential asset to be able to build a decent and autonomous life project.”
Promote the existence of basic care services for homeless people throughout the territory.
We are talking about showers, lockers, rest areas, places to eat hot meals, etc. Currently, there are some municipalities that don’t have any type of resources for homeless people, and other municipalities where there are resources, but not enough. The proposed law to address homelessness that is being worked on in Parliament guarantees the right to low-demand centers, a locker service for storing belongings, services of laundry, shower and closet, etc. We request to take this into account so that homeless people can be assisted in this matter from any municipality.
Ensure that the ordinances of coexistence in the public space of the municipalities do not criminalize homeless people.
The legal regulations of Catalonia should ensure that the ordinances on civility and coexistence in the public space that are approved at the municipal level do not look at the homeless as an object of sanctions. Homeless people also have a right to public space and, as they do not have a home, they cannot comply with these ordinances on equal terms. Currently, the proposed law to address homelessness that is being worked on in the Parliament of Catalonia calls for banning fines and penalties to homeless people for eating and drinking in the street, for using public fountains to wash themselves and for sleeping on a bench, among others. From Arrels, we support this proposal.
Facilitate and promote the exchange of information.
Under the umbrella of the Catalan government, we propose to create a digital system that collects all services that take care of homeless people in Catalonia and also to create a common database of people who use these services to work more efficiently and coordinately.