2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting Homelessness
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Social Rights 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting Homelessness Edition Area of Social Rights Technical coordination and author Albert Sales Technical and research support Cristina Sobrino Editorial coordination Area of Social Rights Department of Communication The 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting Homelessness was approved in December 2016. It has the active support of all the or- ganisations and institutions belonging to the Homeless People Care Network (XAPSLL). January 2017
2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting Homelessness Social Rights 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting Homelessness
CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION 8 1.1. Regulatory Framework 9 1.2. Strategic planning for tackling homelessness 10 1.3. From care for homeless people to fighting homelessness 12 1.4. Fighting homelessness from a gender perspective 17 2. METHOD OF PREPARATION 24 3. DIAGNOSIS 25 3.1. Housing exclusion and homelessness in Barcelona 25 3.2. Care for homeless people in Barcelona 32 4. ACTION PLAN 33 Social Rights AREA 1. Recognising the rights of and protecting people living 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting on the streets 33 Homelessness Goal 1.1. To ensure the safety of people living on the streets 33 Goal 1.2. To ensure homeless people’s basic needs are covered 33 Goal 1.3. To realise the political rights of homeless people 35 Goal 1.4. To promote homeless people’s access to culture and recreation 35 Goal 1.5. To give people without a roof or home access to transport 36 AREA 2. Preventing homelessness in de-institutionalisation processes 36 Goal 2.1. To prevent young people formerly in DGAIA foster care from ending up on the streets 36 Goal 2.2. To prevent coming out of prison from becoming a factor in homelessness 36 Goal 2.3. To prevent the custody that authorities put immigrants under from becoming a factor in homelessness 37 Goal 2.4. To prevent people who are discharged from hospital from ending up on the streets 37 AREA 3. Health and access to health-care systems 37 Goal 3.1. To ensure homeless people have access to the health service 37 Goal 3.2. To ensure access to suitable mental health care 38
AREA 4. Reducing the number of people falling into several housing exclusion situations (preventive policies) and minimising the time people spend living on the streets (preventing long-term homelessness) 38 Goal 4.1. To eradicate long-term homelessness and reduce the time homeless people spend living on the streets 38 Goal 4.2. To reduce the possibility of relapses among people who leave situations of homelessness 40 Goal 4.3. To detect risk-of-homelessness situations at an early stage 41 AREA 5. Accommodation and housing-access model 41 Goal 5.1. To adapt the service portfolio to people’s needs (to improve their quality of life and prevent their exclusion) 41 Goal 5.2. To improve living conditions in homeless people’s facilities Social Rights and prevent them overcrowding 42 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting AREA 6. Reducing the risk of homelessness linked to administrative Homelessness exclusion among immigrants 42 Goal 6.1. To coordinate the efforts of social organisations and the municipal authorities so that no one is excluded from social care because of their origins or nationality 42 Goal 6.2. To create specific itineraries for regularising homeless people in an irregular administrative situation 42 AREA 7. Generating knowledge to improve policies and transform the social perception of homelessness 43 Goal 7.1. To incorporate a gender perspective into the planned alterations at collective residential facilities 43 Goal 7.2. To ensure there is a gender perspective in drawing up violence prevention protocols 44 AREA 8. Generating knowledge to improve policies and transform the social perception of homelessness 44 Goal 8.1. To combat the social stigma of people without a roof or a home 44 Goal 8.2. To broaden the XAPSLL’s knowledge of all forms of homelessness that affect people in the city 44
CONTENTS AREA 9. Co-responsibility and networking 45 Goal 9.1. To enable the XAPSLL organisations to get to know each other and the resources the city offers homeless people 45 Goal 9.2. To establish discussion and advocacy mechanisms between the XAPSLL and other public authorities 46 Goal 9.3. To establish coordination and joint-working mechanisms with the Inclusive Housing Network 46 5. MUNICIPAL COMMITMENTS AND ECONOMIC RESOURCES 47 5.1. Planned investments for 2016-2019 47 5.2. Forecast growth of the Municipal Care Programme for Homeless People 48 Social Rights 5.3. Research and knowledge 51 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting Homelessness
Social Rights 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting Homelessness
1. INTRODUCTION The Municipal Action Programme tion of those services towards build- (PAM) for 2016-2019 establishes a ing personal inclusive itineraries and series of goals directly relating to the consolidating their collaboration fight against homelessness. Notable with specialist civil society organisa- among them are the PAM’s declared tions, based on the joint creation of aim of tackling housing exclusion the Homeless People Care Network among the most vulnerable groups, (XAPSLL2). ensuring the entire population’s basic living needs are covered and coordi- The network, which comprises thir- nating basic social services for com- ty-two of the city’s social action prehensive care, giving priority to per- organisations and the City Council sonal autonomy. itself, was founded principally to strengthen the city’s capacity for As many as 28 citizen proposals for action and to accompany homeless 8 improving care for homeless people people through the process of re- came out of the participatory pro- covering full personal autonomy and Social Rights cess for drawing up the PAM and as re-establishing their interpersonal 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting many as 1,069 people took part in the and social ties. Homelessness various deliberative activities aimed at guiding municipal policies on the The XAPSLL’s work has served to es- fight against homelessness. The pro- tablish the foundations of a common posals are grouped under a specific strategy between the great majority initiative which involves driving an of social players attending to home- action plan against homelessness less people in the city. The present that reviews the actions being car- Plan aims to formulate a city strate- ried out by the local authority and the gy where all the players feel they are city’s social organisations1. participants and central figures. Public interest in the situation of So those people directly affected by people worst affected by housing ex- the harshest forms of homelessness clusion has a long history behind it in were involved in the process of draft- Barcelona. And with the approval of ing, discussing and debating it and the 2005-2010 Municipal Plan for So- contributing their knowledge and cial Inclusion, the signing of the Citi- experience. In April 2016 a working zen Agreement for an Inclusive Bar- group was set up by the Municipal celona and the subsequent approval Social Welfare Council, made up of of the Municipal Care Programme people who have been or are users of for Homeless People, Barcelona City Barcelona’s care facilities for home- Council took on the challenge and less people. This group has held five committed itself to expanding re- working sessions on the Plan. sources and services for homeless people, strengthening the orienta- 1 decidim.barcelona/pam 2 The XAPSLL's member organisations (November 2016) are as follows: ABD; ACCEM; Amics del Moviment Quart Món Catalunya; Arrels Fundació; Asociación de Alternativas, Motivación y Acompañamiento ADAMA; Associació Dit i Fet; Associació per la Recerca i l’Acció Social Vincle; Associació per la reeducació i la reinserció social Lligam; Associació Prohabitatge; Associació Rauxa; Associació Social Yava Luisa; Caliu - Espai d’acolliment; Càritas Diocesana de Barcelona; Centre d’Acollida Assís; Centre Obert l’Heura; Companyia de les Filles de la Caritat de Sant Vicenç de Paül; Comunitat de Sant Egidi; Congregació Serves de la Passió - Llar Santa Isabel i Residència Maria Teresa; Cooperativa Suara; Creu Roja a Barcelona; Filles Caritat Fundació Social; Fundació Engrunes; Fundació Iniciatives Solidàries; Fundació IReS; Fundació Mambré; Fundació Maria Raventós; Fundació Quatre Vents; Fundació Salut i Comunitat; Grup ATRA; Parròquia Sant Miquel del Port - Projecte Sostre; Progess; Sant Joan de Déu - Serveis socials; Barcelona City Council.
1.1. Regulatory Framework The right to housing and tools for crowded housing properties. It also ensuring it, or for attending to indi- establishes that the collectives re- viduals and families who are exclud- quiring special attention are home- ed, features in regulatory texts at all less people, women affected by and government levels. threatened with male violence, peo- ple with drug addictions, people with The Statute of Autonomy of Cata- mental health problems, people re- lonia establishes under Article 26 ceiving very low benefits, young peo- that public authorities have to put ple formerly in foster care and oth- into practice a system of measures ers in similar situations who need through legislation that ensures special care, protection or specialist access to decent housing. It is Act support. 18/2007, of 28 December, which reg- ulates everyone's access to decent Where individuals or families are 9 and suitable housing during the homeless, Act 12/2007, of 11 Octo- various stages of their life. This Act ber, on social services, states that Social Rights provides for the creation of flats ear- the guarantee for meeting people’s marked for social policies and meas- basic needs for subsistence and 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting ures to promote access to them by quality of life lies in a series of ac- Homelessness vulnerable groups. tions we call social services. It defines as “homeless” a person or Public transfers for dealing with con- household with a manifest lack of tingencies that can occur through- decent, suitable housing, because out life are regulated by Act 13/2006, they have no home, live on the streets of 27 July, on cash benefits. The text or in a place unsuitable for housing stipulates that, where people en- according to the Act’s provisions, and counter problems that prevent them they suffer effective social exclusion from meeting essential expenses caused by social barriers or person- for sustaining themselves or the in- al difficulties in living independent- dividuals making up their family or ly. Also falling under the definition household, the purpose of emergen- of “homeless” are people who have cy social benefits shall be to meet been subject to an eviction process basic needs such as food, clothing resulting from a duly established im- and accommodation. possibility of meeting their rent. Decree 75/2014, of 27 May, on the Right to Housing Plan, defines social integration housing and stipulates that it is to be allocated to people with integration problems and to tenants of substandard and over-
1.2. Strategic planning for tackling homelessness The evident increase in the number Furthermore, with the signing of the of people compelled to sleep on the Pact of Amsterdam in 2016, the EU streets in European cities over the has launched a process for drawing last three decades bears testimo- up a European Urban Agenda. The ny to the scope and growth of social first four issues to be tackled include vulnerability and the harsh conse- urban poverty and housing.4 quences of the incapacity to realise a right to housing set out in a large part Confirmation of the housing emer- of the constitutional texts of Europe- gency currently seen in many big an states. The social emergency that European cities has aroused the in- people who spend their nights on the terest of European institutions in streets find themselves in, and the policies to contain and prevent the visibility that gives them, has put the loss of housing and reduce home- 10 need to implement specific strate- lessness. The European Parliament gies to combat the toughest forms approved a resolution5 on 16 January of housing exclusion on the political 2014 calling on the Commission to Social Rights agenda. draw up an EU homelessness strate- 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting gy (reiterating what had already been Homelessness European institutional policies stated in the European Parliament for tackling homelessness are en- resolution of 14 September 2011). shrined in the 2020 Strategy for The resolution also encourages fighting poverty and are accounta- member states to design their own ble to the European Commission Di- strategies and reminds them of their rectorate-General for Employment responsibility to implement policies and Social Affairs. The Europe 2020 that fight homelessness and provide Strategy commits the EU to reduc- care for homeless people. ing the number of people below the poverty line in member states by 20 Domestic and state-level strategies million. The European Commission’s began to emerge in the 1990s. The Social Investment Package3 calls on high number of people sleeping on member states to combat housing city centre streets in the UK has led exclusion through strategies based the different levels of government to on prevention, by revising the regu- implement plans and programmes latory frameworks behind evictions for purposes of coordinating and and removals, and by applying hous- bringing coherence to the various ing-led strategies to homeless peo- initiatives that have been imple- ple. Europe thereby assumes that the mented since the 1980s to tackle cornerstone for coordinating care for the situation of homeless people. homeless people rests on providing Taking their inspiration from North housing. American intervention programmes, 3 easpd.eu 4 urbanaqendaforthe.eu 5 European Parliament resolution of 16 January 2014 on an EU homelessness strategy (2013/2994 [RSP]).
supra-municipal plans in the UK are social support and monitoring have driving agendas and shared goals gradually expanded the portfolio of between the various social players social accommodation resources in and promoting public-private part- Europe’s big cities since the 1980s. nerships in providing specialist so- cial services. In the case of Spain, the 2015-2020 Comprehensive Domestic Strate- By contrast, Sweden’s strategy is gy for Homeless People (ENI-PSH), to set structural goals, such as re- which was approved under a resolu- ducing the number of evictions and tion adopted by the Council of Minis- launching preventive initiatives ters on 6 November 2015, is the first aimed at protecting families at risk and only official framework model of poverty from losing their home. It that local and regional authorities also sets out precisely the initiatives may invoke in designing care poli- 11 that have to be implemented by local cies for homeless people. By means authorities to cover people's basic of the ENI-PSH the central govern- Social Rights needs, including emergency accom- ment proposes a basic institutional modation. architecture for responding to the 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting situations faced by homeless people Homelessness Finland, a model country thanks to which rests on local authorities and its success in reducing the number the Public Social Services System. of homeless people over the last two The strategy is centred on care for decades, has focused its strategy on people without a roof or home.6 creating an extensive stock of social housing through cooperation be- tween the various levels of authority and the involvement of private and third-sector players. In most European countries, howev- er, care policies for homeless people have been implemented by local gov- ernments with hardly any supra-mu- nicipal coordination. They have gradually created ad hoc housing solutions and services to deal with the lack of access to housing that in- dividuals and collectives in structur- al exclusion situations face. Hostels, residences and shared flats with 6 ETHOS Categories 1 to 7: 1. People living out in the open; 2. People spending the night in hostels for homeless people; 3. People living in facilities for homeless people; 4. People living in women’s shelters; 5. People living in residential facilities for immigrants; 6. People in the process of leaving institutions; 7. People receiving long-term support (for having been homeless).
1.3. From care for homeless people to fighting homelessness Homeless people have traditional- exclusively to a person and their fam- ly been regarded as a collective with ily; from the social perspective, having distinctive features (mental illness, a private space for enjoying social re- alcoholism, drug addiction, unadapt- lations; and from a legal perspective, ed lifestyle) and classed under a cat- having a title of ownership or a lease. egory that was very close to social de- viation. Referring to the situation as Depending on the habitability condi- (homelessness) instead of speaking tions the space a person is living in about homeless people strengthens has, the social and private life it al- the view that action by the author- lows and the legal system for using ities and institutions is not aimed at the accommodation, four situations groups or collectives but focused on or categories are defined: combating a situation that violates 12 people’s right to housing and assumes • Without a roof: where the person that what homeless people have in has no physical place to live in. Social Rights common is living in a situation of se- 2016-2020 Barcelona vere housing exclusion. • Without a home: where a person has Plan for Fighting Homelessness a physical place, although it does Homelessness is identified as one not meet the necessary conditions of the most extreme forms in which of privacy to be considered a proper poverty manifests itself in our cities, space and which the occupant has and homeless people, who spend 24 not legal title to. A person without a hours a day in public spaces, are the roof or home is defined as someone most visible, though not the only part who spends the night in public fa- of homelessness. Housing exclusion cilities or social institutions. appears on several levels of severity depending on the relationship people • Insecure housing: where a person have with the space at their disposal has a physical place they can live for their personal lives. Whoever lives their private life in but they have no in a residential centre run by institu- legal permission to use the accom- tions or municipal authorities, in a modation. shelter or in a space unfit for living in, • Unsuitable housing: where a person has a roof but not a home. lives in a space that does not meet suitable conditions for habitabil- For the purposes of analysing hous- ity. They therefore have a physical ing exclusion, FEANTSA (the European place for living their private life in, Federation of National Organisations with legal permission for or title to Working with Homeless People) pro- using it, but with the discomforts poses a classification of housing dep- that arise from its deterioration. rivation situations that allows various levels of exclusion to be identified and These four categories have been breaks with the classic distinction made operational by identifying thir- between the majority in society with teen specific situations that cover all a roof over their heads and people forms of depriving people of a right who spend the night on the streets or to decent housing. It is worth pre- in hostels for homeless people. This senting the conceptualisation of the classification, called ETHOS (Euro- various typologies established within pean Typology of Homelessness and the FEANTSA framework, given that Housing Exclusion) suggests there are it is the classification which is being three ways of viewing housing access: adopted around Europe by institu- from the physical perspective, having tions and public authorities for tack- a suitable space available belonging ling the problem of housing exclusion.
Table 1. ETHOS classification Situation Conceptual category Operative category. Type of accommodation Homeless Without a roof 1. People living out in the open 1.1. Public or open space. 2. People spending the night in 2.1. Night shelter. hostels for homeless people. Without a home 3. People living in 3.1. Shelters and hostels for facilities for homeless people. homeless people. 3.2. Limited-stay centres. 3.3. Accommodation with support for times of transition. 4. People living in shelters 4.1. Shelters for women. for women. 13 5. People living in 5 .1. Temporary accommodation residential facilities shelters. Social Rights for immigrants. 5.2. Accommodation for immigrant workers. 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting Homelessness 6. People in the process of 6.1. Prisons. leaving institutions. 6.2. Medical treatment institutions 6.3. Shelters for children and young people. Exclusion Insecure housing 7. People receiving long-term 7.1. Residences for elderly people from housing support (for having been who have been homeless. homeless). 7.2. Residential centres with support for people who have been homeless. 8. People living in 8 .1. With friends or family. an insecure home. 8.2. Subletting. 8.3. Squatting. 9. People living under 9.1. In the process of eviction. the threat of eviction for failing to pay rent. 9.2. In the process of foreclosure. 10. People living 10.1. Households with a history of under threat of violence. domestic violence or complaints reported to the police. Exclusion Unsuitable housing 11. People living in 11.1. Mobile homes, caravans. from housing “unconventional” and 11.2. “Unconventional” building. temporary structures 11.3. Temporary structures. 12. People living in 12.1. Housing unsuitable unhealthy housing. for everyday life. 13. People living in 13.1. Housing occupied to the point overcrowded conditions. of overcrowded conditions. Source: FEANTSA
The seriousness of the situations Towards a people-centred model for faced by homeless people sleeping fighting homelessness on the streets and the increase in this reality in most European cities over If a person is to rebuild their life fol- the last three decades have led mu- lowing the impact of having lost nicipal authorities to create special- everything and despite having lived ist measures within the framework on the streets, they will need finan- of social services and civil society or cial, housing and emotional stabili- to encourage organisations to tackle ty. Hence the good results of policies these problems. During the decades aimed at providing stable housing as a of expansion of welfare states and first step in the social accompaniment subsequently, up to the 1990s, so- process. Policies which, usually under cial services tackled the problem of the label of “housing first”, abandon 14 homelessness by putting the focus the idea that independent housing is on its manifestation on the streets, the culmination of an inclusive pro- by creating residential resources cess monitored and supervised by Social Rights and designing social accompaniment professionals. 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting and treatment programmes which, in Homelessness many cases, emulated the way the The learning that comes from running health-care system worked. From the housing-first projects is realised in perspective that homeless people what we can call housing-led policies, had cut their ties with social protec- which guide the professional praxis tion mechanisms in general and so- of social services and institutions to- cial services in particular, emergency wards reconstructing homes in their shelter in hostels was regarded as a broadest sense. People's empower- good time for establishing links with ment is sought through living and res- social services, developing the rela- idential stability and having spaces tionship with users by covering their available for rebuilding emotional and most basic needs. social ties. Social intervention meth- ods have to be transformed by limiting Barcelona City Council and the Home- the exercise of control functions and less People Care Network have been focusing professionals on the tasks of working to break away from the clas- accompanying and respecting the de- sic approach to care for homeless cisions and independence of the per- people for nearly a decade now. This son they are helping. approach to housing exclusion as a continuum of precarious and inac- This respect must also apply to cessible housing situations compels first-contact work or the relationship us to question the traditional view of of the authority and welfare institu- homelessness as a social pathology, tions with people living on the streets. and suggest the common denomina- From the rights perspective too, the tor between people afflicted by it is right to the city must be guaranteed the fact they do not have a home. As for people who prefer sleeping out in a consequence, if the aim is to com- the open to the alternatives offered bat the situation of nearly a thou- them in their homeless everyday sand people sleeping on the streets lives. This guarantee takes the form of Barcelona on any given night, poli- of fighting against policies of evicting cies will have to be designed which at and displacing homeless people, in least consider the problems that are an effective access to sanitary facili- described by the ETHOS categories. ties and drinking water, and in keeping the door open to care circuits directly, without delay or dissuasive measures.
Empowerment through respect Technical and academic literature must also be achieved by actively on preventing housing exclusion dis- listening to the people who have al- tinguishes three levels:7 ways been considered the object of policies. Driving measures for exer- 1. Primary prevention, which in- cising political rights, establishing cludes initiatives aimed at fight- mechanisms for complaining about ing the structural causes to hous- and reporting abuses and violations ing precariousness and reducing of rights, creating participatory and the risk of homelessness among co-decision spaces in institutions the population affected by impov- and coordinating direct participatory erishment and social exclusion spaces for people affected in design- processes. ing municipal policies. 2. Secondary prevention, involving initiatives aimed at individuals or 15 Towards structural prevention households at immediate risk of losing their homes. Social Rights Like practically all big European cit- ies, Barcelona has seen twenty years 3. Tertiary prevention, grouping to- 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting of steady growth in the resources gether initiatives aimed at cre- Homelessness earmarked for providing care for ating mechanisms for providing homeless people. Increased num- homeless people with access to bers of places in facilities, a broader stable housing and preventing range of public and private services them from relapsing into home- and innovations in social intervention lessness. methods have paralleled the growth in housing exclusion and the num- Of all the many factors that interact ber of people who find themselves to define people’s risk of suffering with no choice but to sleep on the from severe housing exclusion, it is streets. Caring for homeless people the structural factors that have be- and establishing policies that enable come key to explaining the rise in drastic reductions in the numbers the number of people without a roof of people living on the streets is an or home in European cities. Labour unavoidable political commitment in and housing markets systematically fighting inequalities and poverty in and permanently exclude part of the our city. However, policies focused on population in big urban centres. The reversing the effects of housing ex- economy of global cities is subject clusion have to be accompanied by to financialisation processes that preventive policies that stop people exceed the capacity of municipali- from ending up homeless. ties, supra-municipal organisations and states to act. The city's attrac- tion to high-income tourists and pro- fessionals is causing a rise in rental prices. Meanwhile, salaries are fall- ing, jobs in the tourist industry are following their course towards job insecurity and long-term unemploy- ment is growing. 7 Shinn, M., Baumohl, J. & Hopper, K. (2001). The Prevention of Homelessness Revisited. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 1(1), 95-127.
Big cities such as Barcelona are every residential resource, or prior- the final destiny of migratory flows itising accommodation policies that caused by the destruction of mil- provide stable access to housing lions of people's habitats around the (housing-first and housing-led poli- world. A combination of cross-border cies), would be some of the tertiary movements and increasingly restric- prevention policies that are being tive migratory policies is condemn- implemented in Europe's big cities. ing a growing proportion of these Secondary prevention policies have cities’ residents to administrative received a considerable impetus exclusion. An administrative exclu- from the recent mortgage crisis. The sion that poses a serious obstacle pressure of evictions and removals to housing or maintaining a certain on cities has compelled organisa- housing stability. tions and local authorities to con- 16 siderably expand rapid rehousing to The actions traditionally taken by or- households affected and emergency ganisations or specialist municipal grants to pay for housing. Such initi- Social Rights services come under direct care for atives are aimed at preventing peo- 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting people in housing exclusion situations ple who have lost their homes from Homelessness or in tertiary prevention areas, where- having to spend a single night on the as primary and secondary prevention streets. They are usually far removed policies, where they exist, fall under from the area of action of organisa- the jurisdiction of other local author- tions caring for homeless people and ity sectors or supra-municipal areas. from specialist services. Blocking the exclusion paths that lead to the Reflection on the chronification streets is usually a function of basic of the most extreme situations of social services or part of the general homelessness and the relapses of support strategies of social organi- people attended to has, over the last sations in situations of poverty. two decades, led care services to consider tertiary prevention strat- Dealing with the structural factors egies and look for more successful causing the various types of home- social-care methods when it comes lessness falls under supra-municipal to ensuring people who have lived on jurisdiction or at least requires a con- the streets achieve financial, hous- siderable effort in coordination be- ing and emotional stability. Improv- tween several levels of public action. ing cooperation between the various An increase in the stock of social rent- levels of intervention (street, area al housing, an income-guarantee sys- social services and centres), coor- tem that drastically reduced severe dinating a portfolio of services that poverty and the growth of inequali- puts people at the centre and brings ties between the poorest members about a constant change in models of the population and risk threshold and an endless itinerary for each and for exclusion, as well as a change of
1.4. Fighting homelessness from a gender perspective direction in migratory policies, would Women are over-represented among significantly reduce the pressure on the planet’s poorest people.8 When resources for homeless people. A goal it comes to poverty in Barcelona we could also reach through inter-ad- and Catalonia, women are much ministrative coordination in de-in- more vulnerable than men.9,10,11 But stitutionalisation processes, which despite this female side to poverty, ensured that hospitalisation or incar- homelessness is regarded as a prob- ceration would not become a prelimi- lem that mostly affects men. A lim- nary step towards homelessness, and ited perspective of the phenomenon by establishing risk detection and would beg the question: how can it anticipation strategies in social and be, given the feminisation of pover- health-care services. ty in our city, that only 9% to 11% of the homeless people sleeping on the Barcelona’s strategy for fighting streets in Barcelona are women?12 17 homelessness is based on the city’s existing structures and knowledge But homelessness has many faces, Social Rights in caring for people without a roof or and while the most visible ones are home, though it also aims to go be- mostly male, it is not true that it is 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting yond the care perspective by incorpo- a social problem that does not af- Homelessness rating primary- and secondary-pre- fect women. Female homelessness vention strategies and coordinating is less visible because it is mani- the efforts of the local authority and fested off the streets. Women are social entities with supra-municipal the central figures in private types authorities to establish structural of housing exclusion, the home- prevention initiatives. A desirable lessness behind closed doors, sit- goal would be a social protection uations of housing precariousness system that had an effect on the that do not occur on the streets but structural causes, where there were which limit their capacity to devel- transition mechanisms following op an independent life project and situations of institutionalisation to the possibilities of leaving situa- ensure no one was left helpless and tions of extreme poverty. homeless, and where, when the gen- eral protection mechanisms failed, The housing exclusion processes care policies for the people affected that lead to homelessness oper- would be activated and give priority ate differently between women and to maintaining their independence men. Despite the worrying lack of of- and relationship networks. ficial data on female homelessness in the EU (womenshomlessness.org), research carried out in several countries and cities allow us to note several causes of the lower proportion of women sleeping on 8 UN, Economic and Social Council, “Examination and evaluation of the application of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. Secretary-General's report”. 9 Belzunegui and Valls (2014) show in their report La pobreza en España desde una perspectiva de género how the convergence of the rate of risk of poverty between men and women seen in Spain over the last few years of crisis is due to the worsening of the financial situation of families and does not consider intra-family distribution of resources. Using methods that approach the risk of poverty under the supposition of personal independence, the authors conclude that the rate of risk of poverty is insensitive to inequalities between men and women and that women continue to suffer poverty more intensely and more often . 10 Belzunegui, A. (2012). Socialización de la pobreza en España. Barcelona: lcaria. 11 Sarasa, S. & Sales, A. (2009). Itineraris i factors d’exclusió social. Barcelona: Barcelona City Council. Barcelona Ombudsman. Recovered from, 20(04), 2015. 12 Sales, Albert; Uribe, Joan; Marco, Inés (2015) Diagnosi 2015. La situació del sensellarisme a Barcelona: evolució i polítiques d’intervenció. Barcelona Homeless People Care Network.
the streets around Europe and alert psychological disturbances that us to the invisibility of female resi- more often cause a break with fami- dential exclusion. ly and social networks.17 Research carried out in Ireland,13 While resorting to friends, family the United States and England14 or acquaintances may be a protec- reached the same conclusion that tive factor for women against the women ask for help from social ser- most extreme forms of housing ex- vices to deal with housing problems clusion, it is the informal relation- only where friend and family support ship networks themselves that put networks fail. In the case of women women, when they are unable to with children in their care, the re- access housing, in exploitative and fusal to accept monitoring by social precarious situations that also rep- 18 services and the fear of losing their resent types of homelessness, with decision-making powers with regard an impact on their well-being and to their children, and custody over structure of opportunities when it Social Rights them, explain why they seek infor- comes to building a decent-life pro- 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting mal solutions first and foremost. ject.18 Situations that are difficult to Homelessness As for women on their own, strong- quantify or detect, such as living in er personal relationships than men over-crowded flats, confiding in the have, and the consequent capacity good will of whoever provides them for mobilising their own social capi- with accommodation, living in sublet tal, help to prevent them from ending housing without legal security or any up living on the streets or in shelter capacity to demonstrate residency, and hostel networks. Because of the or taking refuge in the house of fam- gender roles historically assigned ily members who are also experienc- to them, women maintain stronger ing situations of social vulnerability, social links with their families and with the tensions that entails. friends. The plurality of roles they play in their everyday lives appears The classic orientation of policies to give them a greater capacity for for caring for homeless people and mobilising relational resources15 a blinkered perspective on the phe- which, at times of extreme insecu- nomenon of homelessness have rity, could protect them from ending limited the capacity for systematis- up on the streets16 The identification ing data and providing knowledge of men and their role, on the other of women’s housing exclusion pro- hand, much more closely linked to cesses. The data collected every the labour market and receiving an year in Barcelona by the XAPSLL re- income. A break with or exclusion veal a strong over-representation of from the labour market is more often men in the ETHOS categories that related to a subjective perception of have traditionally been the target of personal failure and emotional and intervention by organisations and 13 Mayock, P., Sheridan, S. & Parker, S. (2012). “Migrant women and homelessness: the role of gender-based violence”. European Journal of Homelessness. 14 Passaro, J. (2014). The Unequal Homeless: Men on the Streets, Women in Their Place. Routledge. 15 Bourdieu, P. (2000). La dominación masculina. Anagrama. 16 Escudero Carretero, M. J. (2003). “Mujeres sin hogar en Granada. Un estudio etnográfico.” Colección Feminae de la Editorial Universidad de Granada. 17 Sales, Albert; Uribe, Joan; Marco, Inés (2015) Diagnosi 2015. La situació del sensellarisme a Barcelona: evolució i polítiques d’intervenció. Barcelona Homeless People Care Network. 18 Baptista, I. (2010) “Women and Homelessness”, in: E. O’Sullivan, V. Busch-Geertsema, D. Quilgars and N. Pleace (Eds.) Homelessness Research in Europe (Brussels: FEANTSA).
services specialising in care for the Female homelessness is a different homeless. According to the XAPSLL, from male homelessness and its around 11% of the people sleeping analysis is held back by difficulties on the streets in 2015 were women. in collecting data on the housing Women also represented 14% of all exclusion that is experienced away the people who spent their nights in from the streets and social service emergency hostels and centres. In intervention. Adopting a broad defi- the case of housing facilities, col- nition of homelessness, such as the lective facilities and centres offer- one FEANTSA proposes with the ing more intense social monitoring, ETHOS categories, compels us to 20% of all residents were women. As design policies that have an effect for inclusive flats and other shared on the reality of people living in over- housing with professional support, crowded or unsuitable housing, un- 23% of residents were women. And der the threat of eviction, or on the 19 30% of the people living in sublet point of leaving a residential institu- housing or pensions thanks to fund- tion or prison without any available Social Rights ing from an institution or social ser- housing outside. As a result, we are vices were women. also compelled to adopt a preventive 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting approach, often neglected by care Homelessness Based on the definition of homeless- services for homeless people, and to ness offered by the ETHOS classifi- pay attention to housing exclusion cation, the XAPSLL data are very ac- processes with women at the centre. curate in accounting for the people in the categories closest to the situ- ation of living on the streets though they suffer from serious gaps when it comes to approaching housing exclu- sion situations that are not tradition- ally considered in policies for caring for homeless people. There is a lack of data for the categories “Living in temporary accommodation reserved for immigrants and asylum-seekers”, “Living in a residential or detention institution with the aim of receiving accommodation in a definite period without a shelter available”, “Living under threat of eviction”, “Living un- der threat of violence from family or partner”, “Living in housing that is not suitable according to the legislation” and “Living in overcrowded housing”.
Table 2. Number of homeless people in Barcelona. ETHOS classification. 11 March, 2015 Operative category Total Number Number Number of minors under the number of men of women age of 18 (boys and girls) Without a roof 1. Living in a public space 693 89.03 % 10.97 % 0.00 % or outdoors1. 2. Spending the night in a hostel 252 85.71 % 14.29 % 0.00 % and/or forced to spend the rest of the day in a public space. Without a home 3. Living in hostels or centres 511 68.69 % 19.96 % 11.35 % for homeless people. Temporary shelters. 4. Living in shelters for women. 4 0.00 % 50.00 % 50.00 % 20 5. Living in temporary nd accommodation reserved for immigrants and asylum Social Rights seekers. 2016-2020 Barcelona 6. Living in a residential nd Plan for Fighting or detention institution Homelessness with the aim of receiving accommodation in a definite period without a shelter available. 7. Living in accommodation with 481 58.63 % 23.28 % 18.09 % ongoing support for homeless people. Insecure housing 8. Living in housing under an 424 52.59 % 30.90 % 16.51 % insecure tenancy system. Without paying rent. 9. Living under threat of nd eviction. nd 10. Living under threat of violence from family or partner. Unsuitable housing 11. Living in temporary or 434 54.61 % 23.73 % 21.66 % unconventional structures2. 12. Living in unsuitable housing nd according to legislation. 13. Living in overcrowded housing. nd TOTAL 2,799 68.81% 20.08% 11.11% (1) Proportion of men, women and minors, according to contacts made by Barcelona City Council’s Social Integration Service during the month of March 2015. (2) Proportion of men, women and minors, contacted in settlements by Barcelona City Council’s Social Integration Service in 2014. Source: Sales et al. 2015
Women and care policies for home- their home, they are hardly likely to less people turn it into an intimate space. By focusing on highly masculinised Research carried out in Sweden20 situations of homelessness, care also suggests that women avoid hos- policies for homeless people have tels and emergency social housing established a portfolio of services resources for homeless people be- and intervention methods that are cause of the social stigma that links better suited to needs linked to tra- living on the street to prostitution. In- ditionally male, rather than female, terviews with women who have lived lifestyles. The patterns of behaviour without a roof over their head in Bar- of men and women living in hous- celona demonstrate this strong per- ing exclusion situations and their ception of a link with prostitution. relationship with emergency hous- 21 ing resources are determined by the The strategies for fighting home- fact that such accommodation was lessness embarked on in pioneering Social Rights designed for male residents and are countries include researching the mostly occupied by men. The sense neighbourhoods that expel wom- 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting of fear and lack of intimacy that los- en from residential services and re- Homelessness ing a home causes persists very in- sources for homeless people. The in- tensely among women who have to visibility of homeless women on the use these types of resources.19 streets and in specialist centres can- not be a pretext for ignoring the dra- Added to the material discomfort of mas that flow from female housing residing in a male environment is the exclusion when designing policies. double stigmatisation that homeless women suffer from. First, the stigma Female homelessness and violence of poverty experienced on the streets itself, and second, the stigma of their Male violence and female home- alleged abandonment of their role as lessness are closely connected, and carer in the domestic environment. this can be seen especially when we Eroding family ties to the point where examine situations on the streets.21 they are broken is experienced as Where this relationship has been personal failure by homeless wom- studied, the results show that the en and their circle. Such breaks are proportion of women who were living prolonged and worsened when resi- on the streets and had experienced dential facilities make it hard or im- situations of violence from their possible to rebuild these ties. Failure partners was very high. In Sweden, to maintain spaces of intimacy in everything would suggest that flee- public or private housing resources ing physical assaults from partners makes the prospect of re-establish- is the main cause for homelessness ing family times more remote over among women. Work conducted in time. When a homeless person is Barcelona reveals that the need to unable to regard the care facility as break with known spaces and so- 19 Sales, Albert; Uribe, Joan; Marco, Inés (2015) Diagnosi 2015. La situació del sensellarisme a Barcelona: evolució i polítiques d’intervenció. Barcelona Homeless People Care Network. 20 Busch-Geertsema, V., Edgar, W., O’Sullivan, E. & Pleace, N. (2010, December). “Homelessness and Homeless Policies in Europe: Lessons from Research.” 21Baptista, I. (2010) “Women and Homelessness”, in: E. O’Sullivan, V. Busch-Geertsema, D. Quilgars and N. Pleace (Eds.) Homelessness Research in Europe (Brussels: FEANTSA).
cial networks in order to escape from Women residing in homeless care fa- male violence weakens women’s ca- cilities also frequently mention hav- pacity to resort to informal alterna- ing been victims of sexual harass- tives for alleviating a temporary situ- ment and almost always assert they ation of housing exclusion22. feel at risk26. In the United Kingdom, a woman at Gender mainstreaming in fighting risk of being a victim of gender vi- homelessness olence is legally recognised as a homeless person23. This recognition If we are to develop policies to fight is key to gaining priority access to so- homelessness from a gender per- cial housing, although recent studies spective, we shall have to consider suggest that women migrants mar- the phenomenon in all its complex- 22 ried to UK citizens continue to feel ity and broaden our understanding extremely vulnerable to situations of of the processes of social exclusion. homelessness arising from gender Preventive initiatives that detect and Social Rights violence because of the risk of facing combat the housing exclusion suf- 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting the loss of their residency permit and fered by people living in substandard Homelessness a process of repatriation24. housing, overcrowded flats or sublet rooms make homeless women visi- Once women are living on the streets, ble, while also preventing the flow of violence and sexual pressure con- more people into situations of living tinue to be problems they perceive on the streets. much more strongly than men. Fear and a sense of insecurity seem to be When designing measures aimed at determining factors for seeking alter- people who no longer have a home, native strategies to sleeping in public an approach that is focused on indi- spaces, and even accepting rejected viduals rather than portfolios of ser- institutional support when the social vices will enable care to be provided support networks had been effec- from a gender perspective and with tive25. Women who have spent short greater quality and respect towards periods living on the streets talk of people’s dignity. Implementing poli- fairly frequent and intense situations cies to provide housing as a first step of harassment. These women are at in the process of linking up with so- the receiving end of extreme sexu- cial services has proved to be a more al pressure, be it physical or verbal. effective strategy than one which Women living on the streets often re- initiates intervention in hostels and sort to group strategies to increase collective housing facilities. The their sense of security, whether by Housing First programmes and the grouping together with other women creation of small cohabitation units or joining men’s groups. with a high component of self-man- 22 Sales, Albert; Uribe, Joan; Marco, Inés (2015) Diagnosi 2015. La situació del sensellarisme a Barcelona: evolució i polítiques d’intervenció. Barcelona Homeless People Care Network. 23 Busch-Geertsema, V., Edgar, W., O’Sullivan, E. & Pleace, N. (2010, December). “Homelessness and Homeless Policies in Europe: Lessons from Research.” In Conference on Homelessness (Vol. 9, p. 10). 24 Mayock, P., & Sheridan, S. (2012). “Women’s ‘Journeys’ to Homelessness: Key Findings from a Biographical Study of Homeless Women in Ireland”. Women and Homelessness in Ireland, Research Paper, 1. 25 Escudero Carretero, M. J. (2003). “Mujeres sin hogar en Granada. Un estudio etnográfico.” Colección Feminae de la Editorial Universidad de Granada. 26 Sales, Albert; Uribe, Joan; Marco, Inés (2015) Diagnosi 2015. La situació del sensellarisme a Barcelona: evolució i polítiques d’intervenció. Barcelona Homeless People Care Network.
agement present clear advantages for women who have lost their homes to rebuild their social links. Feminist demands to “put lives and people at the centre” can help us not just to highlight the respective, differing needs of men and women but also to propose public action that takes account of the complexi- ty of the situation homeless people experience and the multiple needs of each person left without a home, whether material (housing and food) 23 or emotional and psychological. Social Rights 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting Homelessness
2. METHOD OF PREPARATION The process of drawing up the Plan XAPSLL member organisations de- involved the following participatory, liberated, drew up proposals and preparatory and consensus spaces: reached agreements. The process was monitored by the Standing Com- Discussion and debate open to the mittee and four working sessions public and collection of proposals open to all the organisations were from the PAM preparatory process. held in September and October 2016, A city debate on homelessness was during which the proposals were de- held on 30 March 2016, as part of the bated and formulated which were PAM preparatory process. Sixty peo- afterwards ratified at the plenary ple took part in it, including profes- meeting of 11 November 2016. sionals and voluntary organisation workers, people who had suffered or A working group was set up, com- 24 were suffering from homelessness posed of people who had been and members of the public interest- through situations of homelessness, ed in the problem. which has been discussing, debating Social Rights and putting forward proposals at the 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting Deliberation on the part of municipal Municipal Council of Social Welfare Homelessness teams: specific meetings and prepa- since April. Made up of 18 people, ration of reports by each of the ser- this group held 6 working sessions vices at the Department of Care for between April and November 2016. Vulnerable People and the Depart- ment of Social Intervention in Public 1st session, 28 April: Spaces. The process began in May Introduction and welcome with the 2016 and ended in August. Thirteen Deputy Mayor for Social Rights. municipal teams took part in it: 2nd session, 23 May: Working session on residential facili- Department of Social Intervention in Pub- ties with municipal managers. lic Spaces: • SIS Detection 3rd session, 4 July: • SIS Treatment Working session on housing policies with municipal managers. • SISFA - Rom • OPAI 4th session, 14 September: Internal group working session to • Department of Care for Vulnera- formulate proposals. ble People. Primary shelters (Zona Franca, Sarrià, Nou Barris). 5th session, 4 October: • Medium-stay centres (Meridiana, Internal group working session to Hort de la Vila, Creu dels Molers, formulate proposals on street care Horta, Sta. Lluïsa Marillach, Can teams and communication policies Planes). for fighting stigmatisation. • Day centres (Meridiana, Poble Sec, 6th session, 23 November: Horta, Sta. Lluïsa Marillach). Discussion of the draft Plan. • Sanitation Service, Inclusive Hous- ing (team), Housing First programme (team). • Other relevant services given their knowledge of the situation: Over- night Emergency Care Centre (CANE), Social Emergencies Centre (CUESB) and Dispute Management Service (SGC).
3. DIAGNOSIS 3.1. Housing exclusion and homelessness in Barcelona The XAPSLL has been working since ries to monitor the trend in the num- 2008 to establish a data-collecting ber of people living on the streets, system that enables the situation supplementing the data and knowl- of homelessness in Barcelona to edge available to the SIS through its be monitored, along with the initia- day-to-day detection and care work. tives that organisations and the lo- cal authority implement to attend to This diagnostic work has not just people affected by severe housing been one of the XAPSLL’s key pro- exclusion. In 2008, the XAPSLL’s or- jects for joint policy production and ganisations and the City Council car- coordination, it has also enabled ried out their first count of the num- Barcelona to have fairly full data on ber of people sleeping on the streets the development of the problem at and in accommodation intended for its disposal and to create spaces for providing care for homeless people. sharing information and knowledge 25 Basic social and demographic indi- among all the players committed to cators were gathered and brief sur- providing care for homeless people. Social Rights veys conducted on a sample of the The state of the situation presented people contacted on the streets. A in the following paragraphs com- 2016-2020 Barcelona Plan for Fighting total of 700 volunteers helped to pletes the reports published by the Homelessness provide a preliminary reading of the XAPSLL with the results of the 2016 situation of homelessness in the city, count and other data provided by carried out during a single night to several municipal services. avoid duplications in the count. Increased pressure on housing re- A second count was done in 2011, in sources intended for homeless people which 750 volunteers took part. Once again, this involved getting the num- The number of people in Barcelona ber of people who spent the night on sleeping in specialist housing re- the city’s streets and in specialist sources belonging to social organi- facilities during a single night. This sations and the local authority grew count was the starting point for suc- by 60% between 2008 and 2016, cessive diagnostic reports on home- from 1,190 people provided with ac- lessness in 2013 and 2015, when the commodation in various types of re- XASPLL continued to systematically sources on 11 March 2008 to 1,907 collect the number, and social and on 18 May 2016. At the same time, demographic profiles, of people ac- the counts done in the city and the commodated in various resources on data from the City Council’s Social one night, replacing citizen counts Integration Service suggest a growth with estimates based on data from in the number of people sleeping on Barcelona City Council’s Social Inte- the streets. While the first exhaus- gration Service (SIS). tive count carried out on 11 March 2008 recorded 658 people spending XAPSLL organisations and the City the night in public spaces, the sec- Council made a further one-night ond on 18 May 2016 recorded a fig- count on 18 May 2016, with the inten- ure of 941. That would represent an tion of guaranteeing a four-year se- increase of 37% in 8 years27. 27 Data from 2011 taken from Sales et al. (2015); data from 2016 provided by the Barcelona Homeless People Care Network based on the count carried out on 18 May.
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