On the night of 16 May the Network of Attention to Homeless People (XAPSLL) and the City Council are organising a head count of people sleeping rough in the city. This is the third year running the census has been conducted, the idea being to quantify the problem and give it visibility, as well as detecting new places in the city where the homeless spend the night.
The XAPSLL is taking volunteer applications via the website recompte.barcelona. Anyone wanting to take part should be of age, be keen and available on the night of 16 May and fill in a simple form. On the night of the head count, volunteers will be divided into small groups to cover all of the city’s streets and parks.
This is the second edition of the census since the approval of the plan to combat homelessness in Barcelona 2016-2020, which over the last year has provided more than a thousand public transport tickets for people at risk of exclusion, installed free lockers for people to keep personal belongings in and carried out renovation work in hostels to create spaces with more privacy.
The number of homeless people has risen across Europe in recent years. In Barcelona, the figure rose from 658 people in 2008 to 1,026 in 2017, according to last year’s head count. The number of people sleeping at residential facilities run by social entities and the City Council grew even more in the same period, rising form 1,190 in 2008 to 2,006 last year.
As from January a new municipal centre exclusively for young homeless people has been operating, the Centre Maria Feixa, offering 21 places.
The City Council’s annual budget for providing care and support for the homeless has risen by 30% since 2014, from 27 to 35 million euros. In the same vein, grants from municipal social services to pay for housing have gone up by 25.6%, from 40.49 million euros in 2014 to 50.87 million last year.