Monday, November 12, 2012

Spain's squatter solution

The New York Times may avoid the word in the headline, but there's no hiding what this article is about: After the collapse of the housing bubble and the ruthless austerity imposed by the Eurozone, Spain is experiencing a a huge ramp up in evictions and homelessness -- and squatting is one of the solutions.

The article starts with the story of Francisco Rodríguez Flores, 71, and his wife, Ana López Corral, 67, their daughters, and their grandkids. When their daughters lost their jobs, they were evicted and came home to live with their parents. But when the parents fell behind on their own mortgage payments, the whole extended family was evicted from their small Seville apartment. They wound up living in the hallway and in a van. Now, they are part of a group squatting in a luxury apartment block that had been vacant for three years.As The Times reports, "There is no electricity. The water was recently cut off, and there is the fear that the authorities will evict them once again. But, Mrs. López says, they are not living on the street — at least not yet."

There's simply no reason why families -- including senior citizens -- should be condemned to a life on the street when there are, as the paper reports, 2 million vacant apartments around the country.