The Cotxeres de Sants civic centre provided the scene for the Municipal Action Plan debate on housing in the city on Saturday, with over a hundred residents putting forth proposals. Those who took part were organised into groups to tackle four areas: the housing emergency, how to make social housing effective, affordable housing and renovation.
Supporting housing cooperatives for usage rights, reducing difficulties for people with disabilities in accessing housing, controlling rents, subsidising affordable housing schemes, increasing inspections and fines for financial entities which don’t make their pools of vacant housing available for social rent, improving access to housing for the elderly who live alone and more. Many suggestions were made during the debate, all of which will be outlined on the decidim.barcelona website.
The majority of those attending coincided in calling for an increase in the pool of public housing for rent, quicker response times in housing emergency cases, more widely available information for citizens on grants offered by public administrations for renovating or accessing housing, and for prices in the private sector to be more affordable. One of the formulas put forth involved support for housing cooperatives and co-housing initiatives.
The Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, who attended the debate and took part in one of the work groups, asserted: “We need to get away from the commercialisation of housing”. She added: “The time has come to treat housing as a right”. For his part, the Councillor for Housing, Josep Maria Montaner, defended the need to seek “new ways of having homes” as an alternative to ownership.
Proposals put forth at this and other debates, along with ongoing suggestions from city residents, can be found on the decidim.barcelona website.