The Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH, or “Platform for People Affected by Mortgages”) is a non-governmental activist organization founded in Barcelona in February 2009, which fights for the right to decent and affordable housing nationwide on behalf of those homeowners and renters negatively impacted by Spain’s national real-estate crisis of 2008-2013.
Founded as a citzens’ response to the eviction of families and individuals by banks and financial insitutions that had begun to reposess the homes of homeowners in default on their mortgage payments, the PAH has expanded since its 2009 origins in Barcelona and today has 150 branches across the country that bring together and represent people with difficulties in making their mortgage payments, those in the process of foreclosure and people in solidarity with their plight.
The PAH is structured horizontally as a non-partisan citizens’ movement and adheres to a philosophy of non-violent peacable assembly in the defense of the rights of those facing possible eviction by banks and other mortgage holders.
The organization’s principle means of defense consists of civil disobedience through direct-action gatherings at the doors of the homes of people served with eviction notices to prevent law enforcement officers from entering the premises and carrying out evictions on behalf of the banks. According to the PAH’s figures, its “Stop Evictions” campaign prevented 1,135 evictions across Spain from 2010-2014.
For its work in defense of those facing evictions, in 2013 the PAH received Spain’s National Prize for Human Rights (Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos), as well as the annual European Citizens’ prize awarded by the European Parliament. PAH co-founder and spokesperson Ada Colau left the organization in 2014 to help form a broad-based citizens’ electoral platform that won a majority of votes in 2015 municipal elections in Barcelona, resulting in Colau becoming mayor of the city, a post she continues to hold.
► Learn more about the PAH at the following links online:
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