the councilwoman Lucia Martin has met with the new management of Sareb and has warned them that they will continue to be fined -they claim to have already received 300,000 euros in penalties– if they “continue to break the law”
The ‘bad bank’ owns 824 flats in the Catalan capital; 255 of them with a open eviction process on families with follow-up of social services
The Councilor for Housing of the Barcelona City Council, Lucia Martinmet this Monday with the Sareb, in the first meeting with ‘bad bank’ since the State took control of the entity last April. It is also the first meeting of the council with the entity created a decade ago to “receive the toxic real estate assets of the financial entities aided by the financial rescue”since Pau Perez -Martín’s interlocutor this afternoon- was appointed “managing director of affordable and social housing; matter in which the Catalan capital has a special interest. Perez was director of the Foundation for the Promotion of Social Habitatge (linked to Diocesan Caritas of Barcelona) and “has dedicated the last 15 years of his professional career to social housing management“, according to his presentation in lto the Sareb website.
The purpose of the appointment was, according to the Martin, that Sareb “comply with the law, which obliges it, as a large owner, not to evict vulnerable families without first offering them an alternative”. According to the property registry, the recently nationalized banking entity has 824 flats in Barcelona; of which 200 were already transferred to the city council in an agreement signed in 2015 (Barcelona was the first city in the State to directly manage housing from the Sareb stock exchange, an agreement that was applauded by the PAH, which in its day already considered that it was fruit of street pressure).
255 known families
The problem is not in those 200 houses already ceded, obviously, but in what about the remaining 600. According to the figures available to Barcelona City Council, in the Catalan capital there are 255 apartments of the ‘bad bank’ that are in the process of eviction in which there are involved families linked to social services.
Martín has warned Pérez that he will face sanctions if he does not comply with the Catalan emergency law with these 255 families and has reminded him that the city has already more than 300,000 euros collected in sanctions for various breaches of the social function of housing. At this time the city council has 23 open sanctioning files with Sareb and 69 in previous proceedingsthe majority for having an empty house or in poor condition.
a special relationship
The relationship between Sareb and Barcelona is special. The ‘bad bank’ has hundreds of empty flats in good condition elsewhere in Spain, but in Barcelona the possibility of doing business with housing is so high that the ‘good’ flats have already been sold. In other words, the transfer of the flats requested by the town hall would serve to regularize the situation of the hundreds of families who live squatting in them due to lack of alternatives and to increase the public housing stock, but not to reduce the waiting list for the emergency table.
After the meeting, the councilor has shown optimistic with the attitude of his interlocutor during the meeting and has assured that he hopes to see concrete and positive responses “in the coming days”, with the first contracts signed.
The flagship of Obra Social La PAH
One of the blocks Sareb In Barcelona, a symbol, moreover, of the fight for the right to housing and to the city, is the one known as the La Bordeta block, occupied in 2015 by the PAHs and still precarious. At the intersection of the streets of Hostafrancs de Sió with the Carretera de la Bordeta, in the neighborhood Hostafrancsthe building had eight years empty and still unfinished when, within the framework of the PAH Social Work campaign, it was squatted by activists for the right to housing and became a home for people who had no alternative. Since his occupation, PAHs requested that the building become part of the public housing stock under a social rental system, and in recent years in the ground floor of the building has opened the Escoleta Popular de La Bordeta, a facility already deeply rooted in the neighbourhood.
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