Housing Programme of Fagic
In Barcelona access to housing is a very important issues, and the private market is more and more expensive. Public houses are only 0,8% as comparted to the private market. Access to housing is extremely difficult, and this leads to a large number of illegal occupations.
The Government made a recommendation stating that the percentage of family budget allocated to housing should be 30%, , but in reality this percentage can be up to 70%/80%.
Fagic action related to housing is articulated in 4 activities:
- Mediation in public houses, with families benefitting of the public support, where cases are identified and run by the Cataluña Government. Here the beneficiaries are the Roma families on one side, and the Government on the other side.
- “O Kher”: a similar intervention of mediation, but in private housing.
- Economic emergency support: the beneficiaries are identified with the social services.
- Accompaniment to access to housing, a yearly program to support families in housing inclusion paths.
Main Areas Covered Housing
Target Group Roma people
Stakeholders Municipalities, Social Services, citizens
Social Housing Programme” of the Housing Agency of Cataluña Government
Cataluña has a population of approximately 7.5 million. In the last 10 year, it has seen an increase in regular immigration from North Africa, South America and Eastern Europe.
Housing represents a major issue, mainly because of a gentrification process affecting especially the largest cities such as Barcelona, Girona and Tarragona. The main problems are related to the difficulties of accessing and keeping the houses, because of an increase in rents or in mortgage rates. Approximately 80% of houses are owned, even If still a large proportion has still an open mortgage. About 24,000 people are roofless or homeless (according to Ethos classification), 5,000 only in Barcelona. There is a phenomenon of illegal occupations, while settlements are not a main issues (they are little and a few).
Public houses for renting at a cost lower than the market are only 45.000, also because there has been a traditional policy of selling public houses to the inhabitants.
In this context, the Government housing policy is articulated in 5 main interventions:
- Emergency Table: it focuses on the loss of housing of people at high risk of social exclusion. However, the list for accessing public houses are full, with 500/600 families in the waiting list.
- Emergency Support: it provided financial support to help keeping the houses for those in difficulty. There are approximately 6,000 cases per year, with a budget from the Housing Department of about 6 million euro.
- Renting private houses: this new initiative allow the Government to rent homes in the private market to increase the number of houses available to the Emergency Table or to pay the rent (or part of it) for those who cannot afford it anymore. Within this intervention, the Government also provide and intermediation and mediation action addressed to bank and other private owners, to lower the rent.
- Prevention Measure: it is another kind of financial support, to partially sustain the rents of low-income families.
Roma Programme of the Cataluña Government
The Programme operates under the Social Rights Department of the Cataluña Government. It is responsible of the Government strategy for Roma inclusion, and has been developing a two-year Plan involving all Government Departments, with the exception of Agriculture since 14 years.
In Cataluña there are approximately 80,000 Roma, less than 2% of the whole population.
In 2007 the Cataluña Government developed the Roma inclusion plan. The Plan is implemented by an intercultural equipe of Roma and non-Roma people, with the principle of working with Roma, not for them. The Plan is written also with the involvement of 22 Roma associations, which are represented by an advisory body advocating for the aims and the strategies to reach them.
Now they are on the course of the 4th Plan, whose objectives are:
- Political action to foster Roma inclusion in all policy domains (education, health, housing, employment, justice…), involving the Government department.
- Promoting Roma equality
- Promotion of Roma culture as part of the Catalan culture.
The equipe carries out a continuous dialogue at different level (local, national and European), setting concrete and tangible goals, with quantifiable indicators. The equipe is responsible for coordinating the public actions, rather than implementing them. With the exception of the first plan, the Government Department didn’t explicitly allocated any budget for the implementation of the Plan (even if it was encouraged by the Plan equipe), preferring to include it in policies implementation addressed to the general population. However, the Plan promoted political commitment and engagement with regard to Roma inclusion.
Consorzio de La Mina
La Mina is a neighborhood of public housing consisting of huge buildings where in the 1960s the inhabitants of various slums and camps with a Roma majority located in peripheral areas of the city were transferred. In 1975, 15,000 people lived in La Mina neighborhood, not only Roma, but also from other parts of Spain, as well as immigrants from other countries. About 30% of the population is Roma.
The La Mina Consortium, born in 2000, is the body set up for the implementation of the neighborhood transformation plan (2000-2010), continued in 2011-2015. The Consortium is a public legal entity, of a local nature, endowed with its own legal personality independent of its members to achieve its purpose. It responds to the will of these four administrations: Generalitat de Catalunya, Ajuntament de Sant Adrià de Besòs, Ajuntament de Barcelona and Diputació de Barcelona, to achieve a progressive and substantial improvement in the living conditions of the population of Mine neighborhood.
The purpose of the Consortium is to direct, coordinate and execute the implementation of the Transformation Plan for the Mina neighborhood and has the responsibility to carry out:
- actions in the fields of education, culture, employment, social integration, housing, security and prevention.
- The coordination and collaboration for the correct application of the social, labor, cultural, educational, health and housing actions.
- The actions aimed at the economic development.
- The establishment of relations with other administrations, organisms and entities for the best fulfillment of the functions attributed to the Consortium.
- The urban actions foreseen in the Transformation Plan.
- The issuance of a report regarding the urban actions that are carried out in its territorial scope of action.
In the last few years, the isolation has been overcome. In fact, after being isolated for decades, surrounded by industrial or semi-abandoned areas that easily turned into landfills and which struggled to create an exchange with the surrounding residential area, the development of the final part of the Diagonal and the Forum, where it was created a hotel zone, re-located La Mina in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Now the new Rambla (a broad street) crosses the neighborhood and a tram line has a stop right in La Mina. New cross roads facilitate the circulation between the old Mina (1969) and the new Mina (1973). On the sides of each Rambla there are new public housing and private buildings and some new community spaces (Cultural center, parish school and church). However, the economic activity of the neighborhood, based on small retail trade, has not created many jobs, unemployment is high and access to work for men and women is very different. These issues have been at the heart of the Consortium’s activity through its network of services that have promoted and continue to promote training and job placement. In addition to carrying out their own activities, the organizations linked to the Consortium participate in social life, promoting various collective celebrations throughout the year that strengthen the sense of belonging to the neighborhood.