SPAIN’S abandoned holiday properties are becoming havens for homeless families.
More than 80 poverty-stricken families have moved into six abandoned buildings in Sanlucar de Barrameda, near Cadiz.
The buildings – previously unlived in – belonged to a real estate developer that disappeared after going bankrupt, but now nicknamed the The Courtyards of Dignity, they are the latest in a string of high-profile occupations.
The name was inspired by the occupation of another building in Sevilla in May 2012, when 20 families created a community – with the help of anti-poverty activists – called Utopia Courtyard.
But those families were evicted by authorities in April this year.
“The courtyards are a reflection of the social situation,” said Francisco Cuevas of the CNT union, who brings food for the residents.
“They highlight the problem of the housing emergency that exists which the authorities try to hide.”
Estimates put the number of empty homes across Spain at 700,000, all of which are prime targets for squatters.
The Junta passed a decree in April 2013 that would allow it to expropriate properties from which people are to be imminently evicted for up to three years, to allow them to carry on living there.
But Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s PP government blocked it the proposal.
A tidal wave of Spanish families have lost their homes since the financial crisis, but with unemployment levels falling below 25% for the first time in two years, this could be set to change.
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