Homeless Migrants Suck Up All Available Resources in Barcelona

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.

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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.

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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.

4 thoughts on “Homeless Migrants Suck Up All Available Resources in Barcelona

    • Indeed. I’ve had the good fortune to visit Barcelona twice; if it were not that I’m (still) mostly happy with London (and my friends are here), and I’m getting too old to learn Catalan, which one should, I could live there; the climate’s certainly better.

      Small anecdote; last time I went, in May ’15, the young woman on my left on the last leg of the train journey, from Toulouse, was reading a novel; when she got up to leave at Girona, just north of Barcelona, I asked (in French) whether her book was in Catalan, she said it was, and seemed pleased I’d noticed.

    • Chris, I know this country quite well, have been there often for over 50 years now, even lived in families, civilized ones at that, meaning western lifestyle.
      There was no proper famine, but widespread malnourishement by lack of proteins (meat being too expensive), a poor health system evident through the number of blind or crippled people in street life.

      When people say that there is no war in Morocco, I say: sure not by our standards, but life in those countries is war between each and everyone on a daily basis, ( ex.: policeman by foot stops you on a country road and claims you were overspeeding without any proof. He wants 40$ with ticket and 20$ without. My friend made him fill out a ticket so he can’t keep the money but has to pass it to his superior) as congenially depicted by Leon Uris in his novel “Hadsch”, located in so-called “Palestine”.

      Arabs never trust anyone, not even their siblings, but always have to pretend to do so in order to get along in daily life.

  1. One enduring quality of bureaucrats is, they never make a decision or take an action if they can put it off for someone else.

    Who would have predicted that hundreds or thousands of young people raised either in a completely different culture, or more likely on the streets in their home country, would turn out to be homeless in Spain? The time to attack the problem is when they are just beginning to come in, and keeping them out would not present a huge dislocation. But, the longer they stay in Spain, the more claim they will have for asylum, and the harder it is to ship them back to Morocco (or wherever).

    I would say the best solution at this point is for all countries to withdraw from the EU, the end of the Schengen no-visa border crossing for EU citizens, and the withholding of all welfare benefits for non-citizens.

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