Newsweek

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.
06_30_Barcelona_01

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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Newsweek

Newsweek13 min readPolitics
Will Donald Trump’s Booming Economy Go Bust?
The stock market is booming, unemployment is at its lowest since 1969, and consumer confidence is high. “The economy is soooo good,” President Trump claimed. So why are his approval ratings in the toilet? Here’s what lies beneath the numbers.
Newsweek12 min read
Sebastian Kurz Remaking Europe's Future From Dark Past
Young Austrians see themselves in their 32-year-old chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, a conservative populist with big ambitions. In championing him, they also flirt with the country’s dangerous past.
Newsweek2 min read
Photographer Eva Sereny Captured Sets Of Iconic Films
Sereny was one of the only female set photographers in the ’70s, and worked with every major director, from Bernardo Bertolucci to Steven Spielberg.