Many thanks to Pampasnasturtium for translating this article from La Vanguardia:
Reception centers: The number of homeless young people in Barcelona is on the rise
Migrant minors end up on the street when they turn 18 and lose the guardianship of the regional government’s Infancy and Adolescence Affairs Department [‘DGAIA’: ‘Atenció a la Infància i l’Adolescència’]
by Rosa M. Bosch
February 4, 2019
[Photo caption (not shown]: Mahommed, young man assisted by the Maria Feixa center, the town council’s deputy lieutenant of Social Rights, Laia Ortiz, and the president of the Apip-Acam Foundation during the inauguration event (Nazaret Romero / ACN)]
Young people between the ages of 18 and 25 represent 17% of the persons assisted in Barcelona’s reception centers, while in 2015 they were 5%. This is one of the indicators that confirm that the age of homeless persons is dropping, due to the fact that a high number of migrant minors under public guardianship are not able to achieve self-reliance once they turn 18. These are some of the numbers revealed this morning in the Maria Feixa building, the first municipal center in Catalonia to host homeless persons aged 18 to 25, which has now been running for a year.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Up till now 37 young people have benefited from the service, of which 89% are of foreign nationality, the majority (73%) Moroccan. 60% of them had been under public guardianship (38% by the regional government and 22% in a different region of Spain).
That’s the case with Sfia, 19 years old, who arrived in Melilla from Rabat when she was 15. She says she was in a reception center for minors until she attained adulthood and moved to the mainland. In her itinerary through Andalucía and Murcia she worked gathering strawberries, as a waitress, a cleaning maid, and in a storehouse.
‘I arrived in Barcelona from Murcia. I slept rough for several days out on the streets, in Catalunya Square. Now I’ve been in the Maria Feixa for three months. I take cookery and Catalan lessons,’ she related this morning.
The town council’s deputy lieutenant of Social Rights, Laia Ortiz, and Josep Ricou, president of Apip-Acam, the foundation that manages the reception center, highlighted that the big obstacle for this group is obtaining the documents to get a job. ‘Immigration laws prevent a quick legalization and prevents them from getting a job, and this overwhelms the centers, which end up isolated when faced with the problem,’ Ricou complains.
Ortiz defended the need for more infrastructure like this one, which is 100% occupied and has a waiting list, and emphasized that the current tools to promote the autonomy of young migrants with no family network have proven to be insufficient. When they turn 18 they’re condemned to a life in the streets. The plan presented recently by the regional government’s Infancy and Adolescence Affairs Department to host unaccompanied foreign minors influences this aspect, but up until now it hasn’t been confirmed what budget will be allocated for it.
The arrival of more than 3,600 migrant minors in 2018 collapsed the protection system of the Infancy and Adolescence Affairs Department, and for 2019 a higher number is forecast, some 5,400, the majority coming from Morocco.
The data shown this morning by Laia Ortiz have an impact on the increase of young migrants destined to a life on the streets. If in 2015 the town council assisted 482 homeless persons aged 18 to 25 in reception centers and retirement homes, in soup kitchens and boarding houses, in 2018 they were 1,344.