Grassroots groups to protest government housing decree
Activists claim new rule fails to address “housing crisis" and demand measures against “abusive rental prices”
A Catalan government decree presented as “an improvement in access to housing" has been dismissed by grassroots groups that accuse the executive of “cheating" and claim that the new legislation will fail to address the “housing crisis.”
"It doesn’t tackle abusive renting prices. The prices of social housing will increase,” said Lucía Delgado, a spokesperson for the People Affected by Mortgages (PAH), a platform founded by the anti-eviction activist and current Barcelona mayor Ada Colau.
The town council led by Colau recently passed rules to force big companies to allocate 30% of new apartments to social housing. Grassroots groups criticize the Catalan government for not extending the measure to the whole of Catalonia.
“Catalonia only has 1% of social housing, and we certainly need more,” said Guillem Domingo, from the DESC Observatory.
“The new law includes a rental price index, but it only reflects market prices affected by the current bubble"
Alexandra Francés · Tenants' Union spokesperson
Grassroots groups called a protest for April 6 in Barcelona to protest against “abusive rental prices" and demand “affordable housing.”
The housing boom in Catalonia and Spain that started in the late 1990s came to an abrupt end with the economic downturn in 2008, leaving thousands of buildings unfinished and uninhabitable all across the country. The shortage of housing has led to an increase in rental prices.
“The new law includes a rental price index, but it only reflects market prices affected by the current bubble,” says Alexandra Francés, a spokesperson for the Tenants’ Union. “It excludes families’ socioeconomic situation, their average earnings, unemployment figures, and therefore it’s insufficient to tackle the housing crisis.”
According to the Tenants’ Union, most families in Catalonia spend 50% of their earnings in housing, while the United Nations recommends a maximum of 30%.