Housing is a fundamental right which should be accessible for everybody as it isn’t a luxury, but a basic need. Having adequate and affordable housing is crucial for people who have been living on the street and who have started to change their situation. For Arrels, housing is the starting point and the basic condition necessary to solve the rest of the challenges and situations which are compromising people.
What does it mean having a home?
Having a home is not only having a roof; it implies improving mental and physical health, recuperating ties with the surroundings and learning to make a good use of time and income. Arrels supports the criteria of the European platform Feantsa and talks about “lacking a home” instead of “lacking a roof” to put the emphasis on the emotional, cultural and family aspects. A homeless person is someone who has lost more than just a place to live, because he has found himself deprived of ties and resources.
In Barcelona, about 3.000 people haven’t got a home
More than 870 sleep rough
About 1.400 sleep in public or private facilities of the city
About 600 in illegal settlements
Since 2007, there have been about 400.000 evictions in the Spanish State/h4>
Almost 80.000 in Catalonia
According to the National Institute of Statistics there are 3,3 million empty flats in Spain.
What does Arrels do to offer housing?
The first roof after the street
When somebody on the street expresses a desire to sleep under a roof, a way to get it is looked for. Sometimes through a room in a hostel or some other times through a derivation to a shelter, or offering an emergency place in Arrels’ specific services for people referred by the street team.
An emergency roof
Arrels has four places for people who live on the street and who are supported by the entity, in order to guarantee refuge during an intenese cold period or when the person decides to leave the street.
Sharing a flat
Living in a flat means recovering self-esteem and domestic and relationship skills. In 2014, 25 persons lived in individual flats and 55 in shared flats. Some of these people have got weak health and they need help when having a shower or dusting. Arrels supports them with home visits and, in some cases, the support between flatmates comes naturally. On the other hand, it’s important to respect the need to privacy of the homeless couples.
When I’m ill
The street damages health, both physically and mentally. A lot of homeless people suffer from more than two chronic disorders that makes it difficult to get a place in private and public facilities. This occurs, for example, when someone has mental health alcoholism problems. While alternatives are searched, Arrels shelters these people in the Pere Barnés Residence.
Renting a room
In 2012, 81 people linked to Arrels slept in rooms rented to individuals. To cover this demand, Arrels offers a Searching Rooms Workshop through which landlords and people in search of a room can get in touch.
At last, the flat is in my name
The feeling of having a home is the feeling of being someone. With this objective, Arrels offers support with paperwork so that homeless people can have their own flats, in the name of the person who lives in it and not in the name of the entity.
Where can I wash my clothes?
For the people who live in a hostel, in a rented room or who lack the possibility of washing clothes at home, Arrels offers a laundry service which, at the same time, works on habits like hygiene or taking care of things.
Networking in favour of housing
Arrels works alongside other entities of Barcelona within the framework of the Xarxa d’Habitatge d’Inclusió (Network of the Inclusion Housing) to make current housing resources for the homeless people more effective. We also form part of the Mambré Foundation, which offers a more specific response to housing and working needs.