Joined the campaign: Early 2016
Who’s involved? The campaign in Barcelona is led by the NGO Arrels Fundació.
What has happened so far? Barcelona was one of the first cities to join the campaign and has now completed four annual Connections Weeks. You can see tweets from these weeks using the hashtag #CensSenseLlar.
In June 2021 over 530 volunteers found 1,064 people sleeping on the streets, considered to be a minimal figure likely to exceed 1,100 people. Of the 289 surveys completed on 10 June, it is estimated that one-in-five (20%) of people are highly vulnerable. One in ten have lived on the street for more than ten years, and on average, the people surveyed have been street homeless for 4 years and 8 months; which has increased since 2019.
Arrels are also concerned about the fact that almost half (46%) of people say they have been physically and /or verbally assaulted, which is a six per cent increase in just two years. This blog tells the story of just one of the thousands of people sleeping on the city’s streets.
The Barcelona campaign has galvanised thousands of volunteers, many of whom say their views towards those sleeping on the street have changed due to being part of Connections Weeks. You can find out more about their experiences here (* in Catalan).
The Connections Weeks regularly receive significant local coverage (see this short video clip in Catalan). This video by Arrels Fundació shows images from the first Connections Week – and more photos can be found on their Flickr account. World Habitat staff also wrote a blog explaining the situation in Barcelona and the challenges young people face in Spain.
Over five years the Barcelona campaign has completed more than 1,000 detailed surveys with local people experiencing homelessness, highlighting the scale of rough sleeping that the local municipality cannot ignore. As well as keeping street homeless numbers on the local political agenda, Arrels launched a project called Flat Zero, which provides emergency accommodation for people awaiting placement in one of their 110 flats. Currently Arrels is housing 247 people across different accommodation services.
All the data and reports from the Barcelona campaign can be found on their website.
What’s next? Arrels continues to listen to citizens and offer answers so that they get involved to support people experiencing homelessness, such as the guidance telephone number or the Homelessness Guide to Barcelona.
They have also inaugurated a new space where citizens can get to know Arrels work and buy products made by homeless people in their workshop.
The street team of Arrels has been strengthened and now can reach homeless people in more vulnerable situations who are living anywhere in the city. Arrels continue to expand their accommodation for people with fragile health and now there are four flats where people can live independently but also need some kind of care.
*Links in Catalan can be translated through Google Translate.