Housing, anti-eviction rally to target PP headquarters

PAH anti-eviction activists rally to promote housing legislation blocked by PP in Congress. Photo: EFE via El Diario

► Saturday march & rally in Madrid to protest PP blockage of legislation ►

Anti-eviction activists and supporters of affordable housing will converge Saturday on the national headquarters of Spain’s Partido Popular (PP) in downtown Madrid to protest what they say is the governing party’s blockage since 2013 of proposed legislation designed to ensure availability of affordable housing throughout Spain, while providing greater protection from eviction for homeowners and renters.

Convened by the anti-eviction organization PAH, or Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (Platform for People Affected by Mortgages), Saturday’s two-hour event kicks-off at 12 noon at Madrid’s Plaza de Callao and then continues on foot to the PP headquarters on Calle Genova, where the protesters have a permit to hold a rally that will include speeches, music and entertainment for adults and families, as well as “a lot of noise”, say the rally’s organizers.

THE PAH says its aim is to put pressure on the governing PP to stop using its representatives on the Mesa Directiva (executive committee) of Congress to block debate of the proposed legislation, versions of which the anti-eviction and affordable-housing advocates have been been introducing in Congress since 2013, when the PAH gathered a million signatures backing its proposal.

With parliamentary support from the Unidos Podemos, Compromís, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and EH Bildu groups in Congress, in January the PAH reintroduced the legislation with amendments reflecting a five-point plan that would not only provide protection against eviction, but would also institute regulation of residential rental prices modeled on formulas currently being deployed with success elsewhere in Europe as a means of ensuring affordable social housing in the face of runaway rental prices in Madrid, Barcelona and some other Spanish cities.

In an effort to build more support across Europe for improving Spain’s housing laws, on Wednesday PAH leaders met in Brussels with Spanish European Parliament members representing Podemos, Izquierda Unida, Equo, Esquerra Republicana and Iniciativa per Catalunya-Verds to seek to have the issue aired in the European Parliament. According to PAH spokesperson Soledad Sacristán, in Spain affordable “social housing represents 2 percent of the total market while in Europe it is around 15 percent”.

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