Open letter to members of Congress and the Senate from HOGAR SÍ

by Deborah Cater
Homelessness in Spain

The newspaper eldiario published an open letter to members of Congress and the Senate from HOGAR SÍ  regarding homelessness. We translate it below.

At least 33,000 people in our country do not have keys that open the door of a home for them. It is inconceivable that we accept as normal there are people living on the streets of our cities and at HOGAR SÍ we are convinced it is possible to solve the problem of homelessness in Spain. Today Sunday, October 10, is World Homelessness Day.  I want to emphasise that guaranteeing the right to housing is possible and urgent: it only takes political will and the necessary budget.

Draft budget approved

The Council of Ministers has just approved the draft of the General State Budget Law 2022 and, shortly, it will begin its parliamentary procedure. You, members of Congress and the Senate, now have the keys to permanently close the door to homelessness; a violation of human rights that has no place in a democratic society.

Our organisation has met with all the groups of the parliamentary arch that wanted to listen to our proposals. We want to thank them for opening the doors of their offices to bring them closer to a reality that, despite being present in our streets, is invisible in the General State Budgets.

One more year, from HOGAR SÍ we insist on the need to transform speeches into concrete financial commitments. During the last year, Congress has approved three Non-Law Proposals, the common goal of which is the eradication of homelessness. Ladies and gentlemen, we know that you are on our side, on the side of the people who suffer from this situation. However, if we do not provide public policies with an adequate budget, they will once again become dead paper.

The Comprehensive National Strategy for the homeless was born in 2015 to respond to the 33,000 homeless people. But in these six years not a single euro has been specifically earmarked for its financing. The Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies itself has indicated that the lack of a specific budget for its development within the General State Budgets has been one of the fundamental factors in its low level of implementation.

Adequate budget required

Ladies and gentlemen, you know better than we do that strategies and plans are essential for the proper development of public policies that should help solve the problems of our country’s neighbours; but without an adequate budget, they will never be strategic. They will also continue to be cataloguess of action proposals depending on the will of each administration.

cogesa expats

If we want the next strategy for the fight against homelessness to go from being a mere guide of recommendations and good intentions to being a truly transformative public policy, it must have a detailed budget and express financial commitments for its implementation by the organisations: state, regional and local administrations.

Solving homelessness, finding the keys for the 33,000 people who today do not have a home, also requires the participation of different ministerial departments. Homelessness is not just a social services problem. It also requires the participation of public housing policies and that homelessness be present in the priorities of the State Housing Plan.

Housing and social services go hand in hand

We celebrated at the time the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda to include a program to help the homeless, among other vulnerable groups, in 2020. The future Plan, which is currently being designed, should reinforce this program. It should generate the necessary coordination mechanisms, also at the budgetary level, with the social services areas. This will allow housing and social support to go hand in hand.

The needs of people do not understand items, types of spending, sections, or programs. The General State Budgets must provide for sufficient collaboration mechanisms between departments and administrations, so that services to citizens are provided in a coordinated manner.

From HOGAR SÍ we have already helped Julián, Eric, Elena, Manuel, Rocío… Thus, up to more than six hundred people have found keys with which to open the door of their house. Deputies and senators, find the keys with us and incorporate an item in the budgets that will open at least 33,000 doors so that no one lives on the streets in our country.

Homeless people need real commitments and concrete actions.

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