City Council has created the Unitat Contra l’Exclusió Residencial (UCER) [unit to counter residential exclusion], which will take action to prevent evictions and help enforce the law to combat the housing emergency and energy poverty.
The unit will be made up of 13 people with different professional profiles, who will negotiate with property owners, coordinate the municipal services involved and take whatever measures needed to minimise the effects of the loss of the home if the eviction ends up being carried out.
The unit will also provide support for the enforcement of fines for financial entities and owners of large pools of property who have empty flats. “We want residents in situations of residential vulnerability to have somewhere to refer to and that’s why we’ve set up this unit”, explained the Second Deputy Mayor, Laia Ortiz.
At the first session of the Consell de l’Habitatge Social de Barcelona (CHSB) [social housing advisory body] for this term of office, the municipal government presented a report detailing all action taken on housing. In 2015, City Council invested 17.3 million euros in the acquisition of 158 homes, 13 of which were repossessions where the right of first refusal had been exercised.
Results were also presented for the last grant call for the renovation of homes. In 2015, some 591 renovation grants were adjudicated, representing an investment of 26.6 million euros. A new grant call was announced for 2016, which also includes funding for housing interiors.
City Council also received 3,828 applications for new rent subsidies, for which an extra 11.8 million euros was used. “We believe that in the next few weeks we will be able to get 200 flats via leasehold or with favourable purchase conditions” added the Councillor for Housing, Josep Maria Montaner.
Following this first session, the CHSB and the Joint Commission for the Prevention of Evictions now merge as they both share the same composition and objectives.