Spain - Social crisis: it is raining on wet ground

In view of the elections to the Parliament of Catalonia on February 14, the entities of the Social Sector of the Society of Jesus in Catalonia address to all candidates a set of urgent proposals to improve the situation of the most vulnerable people. They have collected it in a document entitled “Social Crisis: it’s raining on the rain”.

They claim, among other proposals, to strengthen the social protection system, stop evictions, adopt measures to promote the autonomy of the homeless, facilitate the labor insertion of migrants, guarantee the residence and work permit for young people in exile, or allow the temporary regulation of people who move to work as seasonal workers.

The entities of the Social Sector of the Society of Jesus in Catalonia welcome, assist and accompany more than 15,000 people in situations of poverty, precariousness and exclusion, through 45 projects located in the cities of Badalona, Barcelona, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and Lleida, thanks to the social and educational action of more than 100 professionals and nearly a thousand volunteers. It is from this experience that they formulate their demands, which are accompanied by testimonies that highlight the situations they denounce.

In the document they have made public today, these entities remind us, as we have been seeing in recent months, that the health, social and economic crisis will have its worst consequences on the most vulnerable groups: children, migrants in an irregular administrative situation or people in a situation of homelessness, among others. And they denounce that they have not been taken into account in many of the decisions taken by health and political authorities.

The proposals contained in this document are articulated around three axes: social services, housing and migration.

Strengthening the social protection system and guaranteeing its universality

The pandemic has led to the collapse of social services that are already precarious and undervalued, but essential for the maintenance of a cohesive society, with democratic guarantees and ensuring social justice. For this reason, they claim to guarantee the universality of access to basic social services, which is already established but is challenged by the digital divide, laborious procedures or the lack of spaces where to do online procedures, for example. They also consider it essential to offer dignified and quality face-to-face attention; to avoid duplication of information to improve efficiency; and to strengthen the prevention system within the framework of community development plans.

Housing as a fundamental right

Housing is a fundamental and indispensable right for any vital project. Its commoditization leads to the exclusion of part of the population, which cannot afford to pay the mortgage or the sustained increase in the price of rent. We have had obvious and tragic examples in recent months: housing with serious problems, fires and collapses that have caused fatalities, evictions, electricity supply problems, the death of homeless people?

Faced with this, the entities demand an end to evictions, offer autonomy programs for people in a situation of homelessness and increase the public housing stock until we are on a par with the countries around us.

Guaranteeing migrants’ rights

Migrants, and especially those in an irregular administrative situation, are one of the most vulnerable groups. They are, moreover, invisibilized by society and unable to exercise their rights.

For this reason, the organizations ask the future government of the Generalitat to act in those areas in which it has the capacity to influence, legislate and offer programs and policies aimed at this group. They demand actions to facilitate the processes of labor insertion and obtaining residence permits; make the processes for the processing of the report of social roots more flexible; take charge of people seeking international protection who are living badly in refugee camps through commitment programs for the reception of refugees; offer a temporary regulation to people who move through various regions of the territory to work in temporary campaigns such as fruit picking, and ensure that young people formerly under guardianship have a residence and work permit when they reach 18 years of age, with alternative housing and accompaniment.