SPAIN’S abandoned holiday homes 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 properties – previously unlived in – belonged to a developer who disappeared after going bankrupt. Now nicknamed the The Courtyards of Dignity, they are the latest in a string of high-profile squats being established with the help of anti-poverty activists.
Its forerunner, a property in Sevilla coined Utopia Courtyard, was occupied by 20 families from May 2012 until they were evicted by the authorities in April this year.
“The courtyards are a reflection of the social situation,” said Francisco Cuevas of the CNT union, which provides food for the squatters.
“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 have enabled it to expropriate properties for up to three years in cases where the occupants faced imminent eviction, allowing them to carry on living there. But Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s PP government blocked 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.