Hola From Tenerife

Subscribe to our free newsletter to get an (ir)regular ray of Tenerife sunshine in your inbox. Just enter your email address below.

Delivered by FeedBurner


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

More than 1,800 people - and rising - live in streets, caves and shacks in Tenerife

El Puertito, Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Aid organisation, Cáritas, warns of the increase in homelessness, especially in the tourist municipalities in the south of the island, after the recent eviction of a hundred homeless people from a ravine in Adeje. A week or so ago Adeje Council ordered the eviction of almost a hundred people who were settled in shacks in the Barranco del Agua, also known as the Camino de La Virgen, very close to the new tourist development of the municipality, La Caleta. As a result of this mass eviction, Cáritas has sounded the alarm, recognizing that among these people there were thirty in a vulnerable situation. 

One more reflection of the increase in homelessness that has been taking place in the south of the island, and specifically in the municipalities of Adeje, Arona and Granadilla de Abona, in recent times, increased with the pandemic. Cáritas then registered 1,800 homeless people on the island, but according to José Antonio Díez, coordinator of the Unidad Móvil de Atención en Calle (Mobile Street Care Unit) (UMAC), "in the next study that we will present in June, we will see a considerable increase."

Díez explains that the UMAC is dedicated to caring for homeless people, who do not have a fixed residence, who live on the streets, in caves, in natural spaces and especially in substandard housing. "Normally they are usually in public spaces and some reach agreements with owners of abandoned works to survive," he says.

"After starting the first diagnoses on the island of La Palma, in April 2021 we published the first study, taking advantage of the effects of the pandemic, and in Tenerife alone it gave us a result of 1,800 people." He acknowledges that the profile of the 'homeless' is that of a middle-aged person with problems, but he also points out that "we touch all age ranges, even with minors within family units, but there are people up to 80 years old , although in the vast majority of cases they are single people.

He regrets that “the number of places offered in shelters and centres for the homeless, at a regional, national or European level, does not cover even half of the needs. In the end, the problem is that we ask the person to leave their support or security network and move to another municipality and start from scratch, with a registration to receive resources from Social Services. Cáritas tries to support, but there is a serious problem of access to housing and the administrations do not collaborate as much as they should,” he says.

"We are -continues Díez- in this process of dialogue with many municipalities to create day centres, where users can have wardrobes, showers, food, but these people also need to enter the rental market and what happens is that those who have a minimum pension, around 400 euros, don't have enough to rent and they prefer to live on the street, in a ravine or a cave”. In this case, Cáritas is in talks with the municipalities of Adeje, Arona and Granadilla, which "are the most representative in the increase in demand", to create these day centres or shelters.

Regarding the last great eviction in Adeje -similar to the one carried out not long ago on Diego Hernández beach or in Las Galletas-, José Antonio Díez comments that “among all those people who have been evicted from the Agua ravine, there is a mixture of people , some with capacity to move to other places, and about 30 that are subject to a process of vulnerability that need to receive attention from Social Services. Of those 30 we have a dozen cases, due to health problems, they need greater protection. We are in contact with the City Council. It is legally debatable that the Consistory cannot attend to them, because there is an obligation to register them, a basic procedure that began with the start of the state of alarm”, recalls the representative of Cáritas.

Of the 1,800 registered a year ago, the vast majority are still in the metropolitan area, between Santa Cruz and La Laguna, with more than a thousand, "but in just six months, in Granadilla, Arona and Adeje the increase in homelessness has been very significant, with the majority of people from abroad or from the Peninsula who "by not having a support network here, as a result of the pandemic, have fallen through the cracks", although there are also "Canarian families who prefer to live in substandard housing rather than move to another municipality."