Why Homelessness and Squatting in Spain Are on the Rise

For the nearly 2 million Spaniards who can’t afford a decent place to live, it doesn’t feel as if the country's recovery has arrived.
Rosario Echevarria Pedrezuela, 35, tries to stop police from entering the apartment she has occupied for the last ten months with her husband and their two children after they were evicted from their previous home in Madrid on Feb. 16, 2015.

Veronica and her three small children live in a modernist building in a quiet, working-class Barcelona neighborhood. The apartment is perfect for the young family, except for one thing: They are living there illegally. Veronica, who declined to give her last name for fear of eviction, is among the thousands of people squatting in vacant apartments throughout Spain.

Before Veronica became a squatter, she and her children slept in two single beds in a cockroach-infested room she rented in a working-class neighborhood. “There was no space,” she says, “not even for a cot. I was so stressed.” Stressed enough, she adds, that she was willing to break the law and move into a vacant apartment in a nicer part of town. “I didn’t have any other option, especially with children,” she tells Newsweek.

Many Spaniards share her desperation. The country’s economy has recovered from 2008’s devastating global financial crisis, and its gross domestic product recently surpassed pre-crisis levels for the first time in nine years. But for the 4.25 million unemployed Spaniards like Veronica, it doesn’t feel as if the recovery

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