Nearly 150 volunteers have been part of an emergency response team – working on specific routes through the city to provide direct outreach to people living on the streets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out about the full emergency response from Barcelona and other campaign cities in our latest report: Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Who’s involved? The campaign in Barcelona is led by the NGO Arrels Fundació.
Joined the campaign: Early 2016
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 the weeks using the hashtag #CensSenseLlar.
In June 2019 over 500 volunteers found 1,195 people sleeping on the streets, a 25% increase since 2018. 339 surveys were completed. Last year, just under a third of people interviewed said they had been victims of a physical or verbal attack and almost half said they had chronic health problems, showing how highly vulnerable they are. 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 – 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 three years the Barcelona campaign has completed almost 1,000 surveys of local people experiencing homelessness, highlighting the scale of rough sleeping that the local municipality cannot ignore. As well as keeping rough sleeping numbers on the local political agenda, Arrels have launched a project called Flat Zero, which provides emergency accommodation for people awaiting placement in one of their 95 Housing First units. Arrels and Fundació Mambré (a housing organisation created by four organisations) have also begun offering repairs to owners of empty properties in exchange for six-years low rent to house homeless people. They now manage 100 flats in the city, housing over 200 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 advocate for further change in the city through projects such as the Homelessness Guide to Barcelona, a dedicated new legal team and a local political advocacy strategy. They will be publishing their most recent Connections Week report soon.
*Links in Catalan can be translated through Google Translate.