I am really pleased to be able to present you Issue 20 of the Barcelona Society journal, with which Barcelona City Council relaunches an influential publication for the diffusion of research directly connected to Barcelona. Barcelona Society was born in 1993 with the aim of encouraging and sharing social research conducted in the city with the purpose of improving social policies as well as the life of the inhabitants.
We are convinced that working on social policies in a society which is becoming every day more complex, where co-related phenomena and new realities are appearing, demands a thorough knowledge of the social reality. Barcelona Society seeks to make available the work of professionals and experts who, coming from the academic field or public management; on a political or technical level; from the state, private or associated sector, take part in the creation of knowledge about the social reality of the city.
After nearly five years without being published, a new period emerges with a number devoted to homelessness and housing exclusion, a face of poverty that is becoming more and more relevant in large western cities. While resources for homeless people managed by local authorities and social organizations are increasing, the number of people excluded permanently from the housing market is also rising.
In Barcelona, data provided by the city counts and the Social Insertion Services point to a rise in the number of people who sleep on the street. If the first comprehensive count made on March the 11th 2008 registered 658 people sleeping rough, a count made on May the 18th 2016, revealed 941 rough sleepers. This means a 37% increase in eight years. In the same period, the number of people sleeping in accommodation centres, either of social organizations or public ones, has risen by 60%; from 1,190 people housed on March 11th 2008 to 1,907 on May 18th 2016.
The obvious increase of pressure on the system of attention to homeless people obliges us to examine thoroughly and accurately the severe housing exclusion phenomenon and overcome stereotypes by proposing new social intervention approaches aimed at recovering the housing, economic and emotional stability of the people who go through the harsh situation of losing their home and being forced to sleep on the street.
Barcelona City Council and all the social organizations that form the Network of Attention to Homeless People have reinforced their commitment towards those people hit hardest by the decline in living standards by designing and presenting the Plan to Fight Against Homelessness. A road map necessary to review and speed up the transformation of the attention services addressed to homeless people and to foster the designing of policies targeted to housing access and the economic and emotional stability of those who have lost everything and need to rebuild their home.
Deputy Mayor of Social Rights
Barcelona City Council