AP PHOTOS: Vehicles change into house for Spain’s pandemic casualties

Among the many financial victims of the coronavirus pandemic in Spain are newly homeless residents who noticed their jobs dry up or their marriages collapse and now have nowhere to reside however their vehicles

PAMPLONA, Spain — When the social employee referred to as to inform Javier Irure that he was being evicted, the 65-year-old Spaniard could not fathom that he might find yourself homeless after 5 many years of handbook labor.

“I grabbed some garments, a number of books and different issues, wrapped them up in a mattress sheet and instructed myself, ‘I’ve yet another roof to place over my head: my automobile,’” Irure stated from contained in the previous Renault Clio compact that has been his shelter for the previous three months.

Irure, who began working at age 13 as a lodge bellhop, was working as an expert cleaner when the pandemic hit Spain final 12 months and dried up his sources of revenue. It was not lengthy earlier than Irure was turned out of his rented condo.

He tried to get assist from public social providers, however he depends on help from native charity group Ayuda Mutua.

“You’re feeling like a pendulum” coping with the official paperwork, Irure stated. “Going from one window to a different, from calls which might be by no means answered to obscure guarantees.”

The pandemic has been significantly exhausting on Spain’s economic system on account of its reliance on tourism and the service sector. The nation’s left-wing authorities has maintained a furlough program to scale back the influence, however over 1,000,000 jobs have been worn out.

Whereas close-knit households have sustained many voters who in any other case might need ended up destitute, confining folks at house additionally has strained Spanish household life, as seen in a spike in divorce charges. The breakdown of households has left extra people on their very own.

Catholic help group Cáritas Española stated earlier this month that round a half-million extra folks, or 26% of all its help recipients, have reached out for assist for the reason that begin of the pandemic. Cáritas opened up 13 facilities devoted to aiding the homeless for the reason that pandemic started.

Like Irure, Juan Jiménez had no choice however to reside in his automobile, a second-hand Ford the place he has slept for near a 12 months.

Jiménez, 60, noticed his mortgage funds spiral uncontrolled and his marriage crumble after he and his spouse purchased a much bigger home. The 620 euros ($740) he acquired in authorities help in current months went to his seven kids, he stated.

“I dream of getting all my kids beneath one roof, however it’s higher that I’m right here,” Jiménez stated. “They’ve their lives, and I might solely be an issue.”

Jiménez and Irure transfer their vehicles from one parking spot to a different on the outskirts of the northern Spanish metropolis of Pamplona, the place they as soon as had houses. They achieve this to keep away from drawing consideration to themselves.

“Once I get up within the morning, I ask myself, ’What am I doing right here?’” Jiménez stated from his automobile, which is cluttered with garments, blankets, and luggage filled with all that he owns.

“We’re invisible beings. No one desires to have a look at us. No one desires to know something about us,” he stated. “We don’t exist.”


AP author Joseph Wilson contributed to this report from Barcelona.


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