People older than 65 should have the right to a place in a residence, where they are offered the attention they need. The residential centres must understand the specific circumstances of the people who have lived on the street and suffer chronic health problems. Moreover, everybody has the right to die accompanied by their loved ones.
Quick vision of the situation in Barcelona
Almost 5% of the people who live on the streets of Barcelona are older than 65. . People who live on the street usually have a worse state of health, a reason why they die younger.
Arrels attends people who have lived, or currently live, on the street for many years and, in general, are of an advanced age. 14% of the people attended are older than 65.
What happens when a homeless person dies?
When a homeless person dies,normally the city council is responsible for the funeral expenses. It supplies an anonymous coffin and, after some time, the corpse is transferred to a common grave.
What does Arrels do?
From the street to a residence
When a person attended by Arrels enters a residence -for age or health reasons-, he is well accompanied. A team of volunteers of the entity makes regular visits, ensures that he feels well and that he lacks nothing important and accompanies this person in this new phase of his life.
Arrels wants to support homeless people in the different moments of their process, and also in death. Charon’s Boat works with this purpose, with a group of people responsible for accompanying homeless people known by the centre or the street team until the last moment of their life. Charon’s Boat looks for the family when the person dies and explains the situation to them; coordinates with the funeral services and informs all the members of the entity about the day and time of the funeral, because everybody has the right to be buried accompanied by others.
Dignified benefits to live independently
A large part of the people attended by Arrels have worked, but haven’t paid contributions. For that reason, they can’t access to certain benefits, such as the retirement pension. Moreover, in most of the cases the benefits are insufficient to be able to have an autonomous life. Arrels works with other entities, raising awareness and urging public administrations to change this.