The 998 volunteers who took part in the annual head count of people sleeping rough, organised by the Network of Attention to Homeless People (XAPSLL), counted 1,026 people. Alongside this figure, the number of people sleeping at municipal facilities came out at 1,954 and those in makeshift settlements at 415. The rise in the figures highlights the need for a framework to regulate and guarantee the right to housing.
Homelessness is on the rise, despite the unprecedented efforts of social organisations and the City Council in the last few years. Since 2008 the number of people sleeping rough has grown by 56% and the number of people sleeping at municipal residential facilities and those run by organisations has gone up by 64%.
Although the causes of homelessness are multiple, and despite the record investment made in this area, the Deputy Mayor for Social Rights, Laia Ortiz, declared: “If we don’t have a regulatory framework which understands housing as a right, we’ll be excluding more and more people”. Because of this, there have been repeated calls for a law which allows for rents to be capped, for an increase in the minimum wage and for the last labour reform to be overturned.
A new work plan has also been designed in collaboration with entities, linking social policy and housing policy. Likewise, the Plan to Combat Homelessness 2016-2020 has been drafted and includes measures such as an investment in facilities of over 5 million euros between now and 2020 and a rise of 10 million euros per year for support services for the homeless. A pioneering measure in the drafting of the plan was to get homeless people to help work on it.
Results of the 2017 head count
A total of 998 volunteers took part in the 2017 census in the early hours of this morning. The count was organised by the 34 entities making up the Network of Attention to Homeless People (XAPSLL). The volunteers operated in 287 groups all around the city, registering 1,026 people sleeping rough (9% more), 1,954 at municipal facilities (2.4% more) and 415 in makeshift settlements (8.3% more).
The census organised by XAPSLL is a measure for putting homelessness in the spotlight and raising awareness about it. This year’s head count is backed up with a guide giving recommendations on tackling the issue and the slogan ‘Podries ser tu’ [It could be you].
The number of people sleeping rough in each district was as follows:
- Ciutat Vella: 271 people
- L’Eixample: 210 people
- Sants-Montjuïc: 188 people
- Les Corts: 39 people
- Sarrià – Sant Gervasi: 59 people
- Gràcia: 29 people
- Horta-Guinardó: 45 people
- Nou Barris: 43 people
- Sant Andreu: 11 people
- Sant Martí: 131 people