The anxious countdown to achieve a social housing

Just when you start to say goodbye, Elsa Riquelme turns the gesture: “When all things were going so well, the Spanish dream went to hell”. This chilean 54-year-

The anxious countdown to achieve a social housing

Just when you start to say goodbye, Elsa Riquelme turns the gesture: “When all things were going so well, the Spanish dream went to hell”. This chilean 54-year-old came to Spain in 2000. Her then-husband, now divorced, had been before and decided it was good time to bring the family together. Not wrong, the little were able to buy a flat where to live with their three children. “He had six months in Spain and I got a mortgage... over and I gave the thanks to the bank,” recalls Riquelme.

In the early years of the century, the small construction company of your ex-husband gave them plenty of room for the loan and gave them a second mortgage for another floor. It was not for them but for the brother of Riquelme, who had come to Chile to work in the family business and I would be returning a month-to-month fees. But the bursting of the bubble estrujó the family economy. Closed the company, his brother returned to Chile, and then so did her husband, that the situation had deteriorated and currently weighs a restraining order for gender-based violence. Riquelme was single with three children of her students, without a job and with letters monthly 1,800 euros. Despite to rent one of the two floors that he had, both in a poor neighborhood in the south of Madrid, the accounts did not give.

The bank creditor initiated a foreclosure proceeding in 2013 and two years after their apartment was auctioned off. But what hurts most to Riquelme in that time is that their small son, now 22 years old, he fell seriously ill. “I desentendí of everything and gave me the same because the diagnosis was wrong. He became dependent on me”, says the chilean, who receive a subsidy per unit of grade I (moderate) of 153 euros per month. Added to this are other 430 euros charged by the State as a victim of gender-based violence in active search of employment.

With similar income, access to conventional rental is impossible. In 2017, the company that had bought their flat at auction and the bank, to which it still owed € 100,000, offered a solution. To change to deliver the second floor (of his brother) be left with no debt and could live in his house as a tenant. But their rent subsidised, you pay 150 euros a month, ends next June and the company that owns the property has notified of its intention to recover it.

Rentals bonus

For Riquelme has begun a delicate account back. Anticipated, the manager of real estate fund Blackstone with which you signed the contract, has offered to enter into a program of social and labour insertion, has the affected, which will not guarantee you can stay in your apartment beyond June. Sources Anticipated to confirm that these procedures are usual and the situations of vulnerability are studied case by case. To do this, they add, contacts with social workers of the Administration.

Although it is impossible to know how many people are in a position similar to that of Riquelme, rents subsidised occurred with some frequency after the massive purchases of brick, and toxic mortgages by funds and other investors. But they were a temporary solution, pending an improvement in the market or order these portfolios to be able to rentabilizarlas. Only Anticipated, which spends 70 per cent of the 15,000 homes that will control the rental, he admits to have around 1,300 rents subsidised and, by the time they were signed, 2020 will be the year in which overcome many of them.

“What we are proposing is that these rentals would end up and that they have no other choice to be renewed, but looking for a collaboration-public”, indicate from the company without making specific mention to the case of Riquelme. But they also support this suggestion (that the tenant continue to pay a social rentals and the city Council to pay directly to the other party) has not taken root yet with any municipality and required to look for formulas appropriate legal.

waiting for solutions on the part of the administration is a headache for the owners of housing, but especially to tenants in vulnerable situations. Riquelme, part of the Platform of Affected by Mortgage (PAH), has sought to help in the housing services of the Council and of the Community of Madrid. “I have been made to tell you my case and a social worker told me that just like I found a solution from here to June”, she says, “but I'm afraid that date arrives and do not have a solution.”

Few alternatives

His fear of the judgment of Natalia Palomar, a lawyer with the non-profit association Provivienda, is not unfounded. Despite being a victim of gender-based violence and having a child with a dependence, if Riquelme can not prove that their economic situation has worsened in recent times, explains the expert, could not form part of the category of claimants with a social emergency to the Agency of Social Housing (AVS) of the Community of Madrid. “Would come under the quota of special need, but that list moves very little,” explained the lawyer. In terms of the Municipal Company of Housing and Land (EMVS) “one of the groups that includes, yes, it is the victims of gender-based violence, but the call for proposals to allocate the places will have to reconcile with the time that you lose your housing.”

The base problem, conclude the majority of those who have studied the problem of social housing in Spain, is the little park that is there to cope with these situations. From 2016 to 2018, the EMVS realojó to 57 families have been evicted in front of a waiting list of nearly 400, according to data that The World got last August under the Transparency Law. In a period which includes three more months, until march of this year, the AVS did the same with 53 families from across the Community of Madrid. But it is not just a problem of the capital and its region. Spain has a park of public rental estimated at 2% of the total, one of the lowest in Europe, and the construction of this type of housing has barely taken off after slumping with the crisis. In front of the 68.587 sheltered housing built in Spain in 2008, the last year the figure was 5.191. Only 344 had as its purpose the lease, according to data from the Ministry of Development.

“The fact of having promoted a lot of sheltered housing in sale the fact that housing has been disqualified and will be able to sell in the private market,” stresses Juan Francisco Fernandez, a researcher at the School of Architecture of the University of Seville and author of a comparative study on social housing in Spain and the Netherlands. “As the park in Spain is so tiny and unfortunately the emergency situations in recent years have been numerous, does not give to meet those situations,” she describes.

But the expert believes that while building the housing necessary, something that takes years, there are other solutions. “You can revive promotions that have not been completed or retrieve empty dwellings; equal to that which is not social housing itself, can be rescued with public aid to change of manage as social housing,” he says. In Provivienda support similar formulas, but add others as the need of applying a criterion of “proportionality” in these situations. “Is not the same as a family can be seen on the street that a company can not have a home,” explains Pigeon. For the lawyer, the root of the problem is much deeper: “housing in our legislation has never been considered a Human Right.”

Updated Date: 30 December 2019, 04:00

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