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Number of people living on Barcelona streets increases to 2020 levels, charity warns

Most are in Ciutat Vella, followed by Eixample and Sants-Montjuïc

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06 July 2022 11:07 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

There are now at least 1,231 homeless people living on the streets of Barcelona – up over 15% in a year – according to the Arrels Foundation's latest census, which reported a similar figure in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

Volunteers, who scoured many of the city's streets the night of June 15, found that just under a third of these people, 344, live in Ciutat Vella, Barcelona's old town, while around a quarter are in the Eixample district (297), and 15% live in Sants-Montjuïc (183). 

Arrels has seen the number of people sleeping rough increase steadily since 2016, when they carried out their first annual census, until 2020. But now, following a drop in 2021, the figure has increased once again. 

Lack of affordable housing

Because of this, Ferran Busquets, the foundation's director, calls on authorities to allocate more funds towards a problem affecting more and more people every year.

Only 2% of all housing in the Catalan capital – Spain's "eviction capital" – is subsidized and it is home to some of the country's most expensive real estate. And access to the public housing that does exist should not be conditioned, Arrels argues, to financial means, health, or drug and alcohol use. 

According to Arrels, Barcelona should also open smaller shelters across the city instead of the "massive" facilities with long waiting lists that it currently has. 

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  • Arrels Foundation staff talk to a homeless person outside Barceloneta market, August 13, 2021 (by Albert Cadanet)

  • Arrels Foundation staff talk to a homeless person outside Barceloneta market, August 13, 2021 (by Albert Cadanet)

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