The Council of Europe, the body that monitors the implementation of EU values in member states, warns that Spain is suffering from a serious, long-term and structural housing crisis. In a report, the Council highlights the urgent need for more social and affordable housing. This is as a result of years of underinvestment by the public sector.
Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe human rights commissioner, visited Spain in November last year. She published her conclusions in a penetrating report on Wednesday. In it, she said the lack of accessible housing is growing. This goes hand in hand with a lack of public investment. This is because governments have allowed private investment funds to buy houses. This in turn led to higher rents and an increase in homelessness. Mijatovic also argues that the rise in house prices is much greater than the increase in purchasing power.
The commissioner’s report indicates that this problem needs to be addressed urgently. This can be done partly through the government’s 2021 recovery plan. And additionally through the National Access to Housing Action Plan 2022-2025. Mijatovic believes that both plans, if ‘properly’ implemented, can provide guidance for increasing the supply of social and affordable housing.
A report ahead of the Housing Act
The Council of Europe report was written before the adoption of the Housing Right Act in the Spanish Congress at the end of April. Furthermore, the commissioner believes it is important that it is adopted as soon as possible.
Mijatovic asks the authorities, including regional and municipal governments, to guide the process by properly addressing the structural problems of housing shortage.
More evictions and homelessness
The report also says that the lack of measures to address the shortage of affordable housing in Spain has led to a large number of indebted households and a sharp in crease in evictions and homelessness.