THE government has failed to protect vulnerable citizens from the effect of the housing crisis, according to a damning new report.
It has taken insufficient action to relieve the impact of the crisis and alleviate the suffering of citizens, according to a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The NGO’s 81-page report – entitled Shattered dreams: Impact of Spain’s housing crisis on vulnerable groups – documents the harsh housing conditions faced by millions across Spain.
It focuses on families who have lost their homes due to defaulting on mortgage payments amid economic recession and widespread unemployment.
“The dream of owning one’s own home has turned into a nightmare of foreclosures, evictions and over-indebtedness,” said HRW senior western researcher Judith Sunderland.
“Spanish authorities need to adopt measures to help a broader range of individuals and families avoid evictions, secure affordable housing, and ensure access to fair debt restructuring, relief and cancellation,” she added.
The NGO’s report claims that Spain’s current bankruptcy law fails to provide a ‘fair, accessible pathway to discharging debt’.
According to the report, Spaniards have very little opportunity to declare bankruptcy, but the NGO argues that people in serious debt deserve a chance to start afresh.
The report concludes that: “Governments should be judged on how they manage the human fallout of the economic crisis, not just on macroeconomic indicators.
“The Spanish government needs to take a hard look at its policies, and take into account a broader range of people facing social exclusion due to mortgage defaults.”