THE town of Griegos in the province of Teruel, in the Aragon region of northeastern Spain has been swamped with applications after offering free houses and jobs to encourage young families to move in and boost the aging population.
Some 3,000 applications have already been received since the campaign was launched earlier this month in a bid to reverse the depopulation of an area that has been dubbed “Empty Spain”.
Griegos council said that it wanted to attract young families to the town in order to save the school from closing.
Currently the town has 138 registered residents and among them just 9 children of school age.
The campaign launched on social media offers three rental homes and two jobs for families with children who decide to relocate to Griegos.
The deputy mayor of the town, Ernesto Agusti, came up with the initiative in a bid to “have enough pupils in the future so that the school does not close”.
“We expected to receive applications from all over Spain, but we have also received messages from all over Latin America, and also from Croatia and Romania,” said Agusti.
Griegos offers these new settlers three months free rent and then a monthly rent of €225, from which €50 will be subtracted for each of the children in the family.
Also the Town Hall offers three job possibilities for the interested person, working at the local restaurant, Paladar de Aragon, or teleworking from home.
The goal is to have eleven pupils or more at the school and then hire an additional teacher, a young person who would bring more life to the school.
But choosing the right people isn’t easy.
“They write to us very enthusiastically, but winter here is hard and this is a very small village; we want them to come prepared for what they are going to find,” pointed out Agusti.
The town council say they are already shortlisting suitable families to move in as soon as possible.
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