Homelessness up 6 percent in Barcelona in 2015, with as many as 900 sleeping on streets every night

Homeless sheltering outdoors in Barcelona. Photo: Gianluca Battista / El País
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• Fundación Arrels assisted 1,700 homeless last year, up from 1,600 in 2014 •

The number of homeless people in Spain’s second-largest city, Barcelona, is on the rise, with as many as 900 of the estimated 3,000 homeless individuals in the city sleeping outdoors each night, according to a leading homeless non-governmental organisation working in the city.

At year-end 2015, the Fundación Arrels said it had assisted 1,700 homeless in Barcelona during the previous 12 months and noted the figure represented a 6 percent increase over the year previous. A spokesman for the NGO said there is a lack of social sensitivity toward the homeless in the Catalan capital and a persistent belief among much of the public that homeless people sleep rough on the street because they choose to do so.

Meanwhile, the city of Barcelona’s semi-annual social Barometer survey published at end-December showed that only 4 percent of the public in Barcelona felt that poverty and indigence were the most serious problem citywide.

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