Having a home is a right that should be accessible for everybody. It is not a luxury, it is a basic need. A home provides stability, intimacy, security. And it is the key element that allows people that have lived on the street to transform their situation.
We believe that resources should adapt to people. Through the years, with this objective we have looked for many housing solutions. Since 2014, Arrels commits to the Housing First model. It gives priority, from the beginning, to the access at an individual flat, worth and stable, and puts the person in the spotlight, having in mind their opinion.
Having a home is not just having a roof. It means improving your physical and mental health, recovering the relationship with your environment and learning to manage time and incomes. Arrels follows the criteria of the European platform Feantsa: we choose to say “homeless” before “roofless” to emphasize experiential, family and cultural aspect. A homeless person has lost more than a space to live. He also has lost resources and affective bonds.
Housing First offers people of high vulnerability the opportunity of having immediate access to an individual, stable and permanent flat. Arrels’ role consists on accompany these people respecting the process and their decisions. It also offers social support and not make housing conditional on factors likes stop drinking or following a course of treatment. It is based on three requirements: the person must contribute 30% of his incomes; accept a week visit of social monitoring and keeping a good relationship with the neighbourhood.
Start living in a flat means to get back self-esteem, domestic and relational skills, In 2017, 61 people shared flats managed by Arrels. Some of these people have a delicate health and need help to take a shower or clean the dust of the house. Arrels accompanies them with home support. In some cases, this support appears naturally between flatmates. Needs of intimacy of couples it is tried to respect.
What happens with people that have lived on the street for years and tell us they do not want to live in a stable and worth flat? From Arrels, we offer them a secure and welcoming space where they can spend the night and start creating bonds. This space is the Flat Zero, an Arrels’ low-requirement resource for people who have been living on the street for a short time and haven’t found any solution at other resources.
Street damages physical and mental health. Many homeless people suffer several chronic disorders that do not allow them to live in an autonomous way and makes them difficult having a vacancy in public or private services. This happens, for example, when someone has mental health and alcoholism problems.
Arrels receives these people at the Pere Barnés home while others look for other options.
Some people linked to Arrels sleep in rooms rented to individuals. To give answers to this need, Arrels counts on a room search workshop that contact landlords with people we assist and are looking for a room.
It is a difficult task. Room prices have rocketed and housing options for most vulnerable people are reduced.
Who feels that has a home feels that is someone. With this objective, Arrels gives support through all the necessary steps so homeless people can get own flats, to the name of person who lives in there and not to the name of the entity. Arrels will keep accompanying the person and offering social support.
When someone lives on the street breaks with almost all, or with all the bonds he had. One of the most important efforts that has to confront when he goes on the street is to be able to adapt to the new environment and starting to create a social network. When this person starts living alone in a flat, loneliness is also present. And it is necessary to think how to confront it so this person has more choices than staying at home watching the TV or going to Arrels’ centre.
At this moment, Arrels offers housing in Barcelona, Badalona, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Granollers, Vilassar de Mar and Hospitalet de Llobregat. But find small flats with a price lower than 500 euros is impossible due to the situation of the estate market. Also, we find reluctances within the landlords that are afraid that their flat is occupied by someone who has been living on the street.
Arrels works with other entities of Barcelona within the framework of the Housing Net of social inclusion to improve existent housing resources for homeless people.
We also are part of the Mambré Foundation that wants to give specific solutions to residential and working needs of homeless people.