A crowdfunding appeal has been launched to help save a Madrid shelter for LGBT asylum seekers from closure after organizers say it has lost its public subsidy under the new conservative Partido Popular (PP) government in the Spanish capital.
Dubbed S.O.S. Migrantes LGTBI, the crowdfunding appeal has been launched to help compensate in part for a 61,000 euro yearly subsidy from the Madrid municipal government that previously underwrote the shelter’s annual operations budget.
According to spokespersons for Kif-Kif, the non-governmental organization that works with LGBT asylum seekers and operates the shelter, the municipal government’s department of Social Policy, Families, Equality and Birth informed the NGO in November without any explanation that it would not receive any public monies this year.
Kif-Kif spokespersons say that without access to the shelter, the 34 LGBT asylum seekers who were housed in the shelter last year would have been forced to live on the streets of Madrid while their asylum requests were being processed.
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With other homeless shelters saturated in Madrid’s capital, an estimated 390 individuals from various countries who are seeking asylum status in Spain for a variety of reasons are currently forced to sleep on the streets of the Spanish capital. But according to Kif-Kif, LGBT asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable when living on the street, as they are often targeted with violence by homophobic individuals.
Originally founded in Morocco, Kif-Kif relocated to Spain in 2008 after suffering repression from the government of Morocco, where both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable with stiff fines and jail terms from three months to six years. The Madrid shelter temporarily houses LGBT people from Morocco and other countries who are in Spain and have requested asylum based on persecution for their sexual identity in their home countries.
According to a Kif-Kif spokesperson, the shelter in Madrid is the only such shelter for LGBT asylum seekers worldwide. The organization hopes to raise 41,000 euros by 15th March to keep the shelter functioning. To date, the campaign has received 1,700 euros via crowdfunding site Goteo.com.
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