You are nobody without a home

Celebration of the the Day of the Homeless. A Manifesto underlines the right to a home for all

“For dignified and adequate housing. No more homeless”: it was the theme of the Day of Homeless People, celebrated on 30 November in Spain. The purpose of the Day promoted by Caritas, Faciam (Federation of Associations of centers for integration and help to the marginalized), fePsh (Federation of organizations supporting the homeless), Xapsll (Network of care for homeless people) and BesteBi (Platform for inclusive housing and in support of the homeless of Bizkaia), is to denounce the “housing emergency” in the country. On the Day was launched a public awareness campaign on the conditions of the homeless. Violated human right. Faced with this reality of homelessness that is affecting increasing numbers of people, the campaign for the homeless focuses on the violation of the right to dignified, appropriate housing. It underlines that “every person has the right to live fully and integrally his/her human dignity, regardless of nationality, origin, thought, ethnicity, age, of economic and social situation”. Access to this right is not possible today for thousands of Spanish citizens, living on their skin the consequences of what the promoters of the campaign, describe as “non-inclusive housing policies based on economic investments and where the human person is not at the center”. Figures confirm this statement: of almost 7 million homes built in Spain between 1991 and 2007, only 14.5% (989 018) have been subject to some form of protection. Not to mention the devastating effects on the lives of thousands of families as a result of the 400,000 foreclosure processes in the years 2008 – 2012; Paradoxically, there are 3,443,365 empty homes in Spain, as appears from the 2011 Census. “This data – denounces the campaign – includes hundreds of thousands of names and relates to real people: men, women and children who were stripped of a ‘dream home'”. Individuals and families are left without a roof over their heads, and if they have one they cannot enjoy decent, adequate housing, in peace and in a habitable and sustainable environment; forced to live down-and-out, sleeping in public spaces or in some emergency centre, of a temporary nature. Urgent need for housing policies. Faced with this reality, Faciam, Caritas, fePsh_ Xapsll, BesteBi are asking public authorities to urgently adopt a housing policy that guarantees this right and that will prevent and fight vulnerability and housing exclusion in Spain. At the same time they demand the development of a government housing Agreement reflected in a social housing plan at national level. On the Day of Homeless People were also invited the media and social networks to disseminate information on the situation of the homeless with the purpose of highlighting the issue of rights and prompt social understanding on the fact that human rights are for all to enjoy. The manifesto. “Your home can replace the world. The world will never replace your home”. This German proverb concludes the manifesto drawn up by homeless people, on the occasion of the Day of Homeless. The Manifesto was disseminated across more than 30 cities in the Country with a flashmob, to underline that “having a home is not a privilege, it is a blatant right”. “I used to have a home… and I was happy while I was living there”, states the Manifesto, which makes known that owing to wrong decisions or for other circumstances, homeless people have been left alone and without means in the middle of the streets. “Those who end up on the street, feel anxiety_ frustration, low self-esteem and, above all, loneliness, a lot of loneliness”, states the manifesto. Not only: “Society transforms us into ‘non humans’. They act in this way because they do not understand; they flee, they tend to leave you. They should not have this selfishness, this self-defense, this fear … we are people; one day we had our house, our work, our family … like the rest; no one is immune from this hell. A health problem, an episode of depression … and you might end up on the streets. We did not choose to live on the streets with no rights. The Manifesto concludes: “Having a place to go where someone might be waiting for us, where we can feel comfortable, a place where we have a table to eat, a shower, a room to sleep. Ultimately, a home where we can live and where to stay. Is is too much to ask?”.

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