Economy Obstacles, delays and coercion leave poor neighbors out of...

Obstacles, delays and coercion leave poor neighbors out of the register in Catalonia


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Obstacles to counting slum dwellers emerge in various locations. Applicants often find that their hosts prevent them from disclosing where they live

300 euros to make an appointment at the Immigration Office

They request help from the Government to obtain Spanish nationality

Ahmed he goes to bed some nights in a car. You must do it when there is no free mattress in houses of acquaintances in Badalona, where it arrived four months ago. Earn “500, 400 or 300 euros per month” distributing orders and it is not enough for the “200 or 300 euros” that, as a minimum, they ask for a room. Without a fixed address, he tries to be registered. “You need an address for the police to come and see that I’m there. But I walk around all day, I can’t give them a safe place where they will find me,” he says.

Being on the register is essential to have unhindered access to health care or schooling of children. It is also used to regularize the stay of foreigners. Ahmed requested asylum upon leaving Stand two years ago and your provisional visa expires on December 29. Social services will not review your case before January. You fear being unemployed and at risk of deportation when your credential runs out. “I am alone in Spain. I do not ask for help so that they give me money, only ease to work,” he begs.

Social organizations uncover difficulties and delays in registering those who are homeless or settle in a home without a document that proves it. Repeats in Girona, Terrassa, Vilafranca del Penedís, Reus … “It is violated in different municipalities, due to lack of political will or ignorance of people who, if they are not accompanied, go home without their right,” he says. Maria Creixell, member of We open borders. The entity considers denouncing local governments, as it has promoted against the Mollet Town Hall.

Before COVID broke in, the federation Catalan Social Action Entities detected at least 20 Catalan towns that prevent registration without a fixed address. The regulations authorize domiciliary persons in a precarious situation in a municipal office or a benefactor institution, as allowed in Barcelona and other populations. The third sector advocates systematizing it for the homeless and those who run into problems to demonstrate, for example, that they are staying in a rented bedroom.

“The regulations say that this is facilitated, but it costs. Many municipalities do not want that poverty to reach them and they think that the pattern can be a tool to paralyze it “, he observes Ferran Busquets, director of the Roots Foundation, which serves the homeless. The president of the deontological commission of the Council of the Lawyers of Catalonia, Maria Pastor, believes that the law is “very lax” and “ties hands and feet” to the municipalities in the face of squatting and the collapse of social services: “It covers all situations, not just vulnerable ones, and there are municipalities that must absorb what they do not have the capacity to absorb. When this happens, the municipalities should be nourished with economic resources “.

Detect positives

The blockade of the register has led the defenders of citizenship to reprimand certain consistories. “Good compliance with the law is not being done,” he warns Pepa González, trustee in Santa Coloma de Gramenet: “It affects people with high vulnerability. There are people who asked to register before the pandemic and have not yet resolved it. In some specific cases, they go to Barcelona because it is easier. It takes so long that they give up, With what now means not having a health card and not doing a good scan to detect positives for coronavirus. Turning one’s back on reality. ”

Douniane it does not exist for the census. Came over a year ago Morocco to exercise master jeweler, his trade. However, he was left hanging after two months and has passed from cutting diamonds to searching the scrap metal. “I’ve taken all this out of the trash,” she says, feeling her clothes. He frequents a park in Badalona to sleep, although lately he usually finds a space in a squatted place, without a shower or running water.

An official will not see Douniane until after the New Year. By then it will be half a year since the census was requested, despite the fact that the petitions must be evaluated within three months. The Badalona City Council He links the delay to teleworking his staff.

The regulations do not require a rental contract, a certificate of ownership or the endorsement of the owner of a residence to register. If there is no document, social workers or local police officers verify that the applicants reside where they mention. However, they are often restricted by those who shelter them. They fear that a visit by the police will reveal abuses or irregularities in a substandard housing: illicit rents, overcrowding, collection of undue aid …

“My friend does not want me to give the address. He thinks that if I have the pattern, I will have to leave,” admits Douniane. “I don’t want problems, they are good people. They help me with money to eat and call my family,” he justifies. “Someone has to open the door and sometimes it is not easy. How can you prove that you live there?” “There are those who let them be free but then they do not register. For others it costs 100 or 200 euros a month to have a bed, plus what they ask if they want to register: 30 euros, 50 …”, rate Ferran Moreno, of the network Badalona Welcome.

Without a patron, Douniane does not obtain a work permit or seek a benefit. “I only think about getting money to send it to my daughters. If I could, I would go to the field to work,” he confesses. His wife and two little girls remain in Morocco. Douniane saves them knowing of their hardships. He prefers to endure the street to the failure of the return: “It is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I want to stay to bring my family. My 13-year-old daughter has a problem with her head and she would like a doctor to visit her. She wants to study and she is intelligent. I am here for her”.


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