Avoiding Eviction: Struggles of Immigrants in Spain

Americas Now

When Katia and Alejandro Romero moved to Spain from Ecuador nearly 10 years ago, they were feeling positive about their future. Like 1.5 million other Latin Americans at the time, the Romeros made the move to Europe to take advantage of Spain’s thriving economy.

Avoiding Eviction: Struggles of Immigrants in Spain

Orphaned immigrants being removed from their homes at unprecedented rates. Correspondent Gerry Hadden takes us to Barcelona’s “Eviction City” and shows us that a fight for one’s home, can become the fight of a lifetime.

While at the beginning of their journey  they experienced nothing but success, things took a quick turn as soon as their three kids made the trip across the Atlantic to join them. Katia lost her job, their mortgage rates sky rocketed, and the Romeros began to struggle to get by.  Now, they are facing eviction notices and bank warnings, and could soon to be out on the streets of Barcelona.

CCTV Correspondent Gerry Hadden discovers that the Romeros are not alone.   All across Spain, and Barcelona in particular, migrant families that fell victims to the economic crisis earlier in the decade are being threatened with eviction. The problem has gotten so noticeable, that a small town on the outskirts of the city called Ciudad Meridiana has been nicknamed ‘eviction city,’ after 300 families were forced to leave their homes in a period of just three years. The affected families largely blame the banks for the evictions. Years ago, they offered Latin American families low-interest, ‘Welcome to Spain’ loans, for amounts greater than home values. But as soon as the Spanish economy took a turn for the worst, interest rates increased exponentially and loans were no longer affordable. Additionally, the Spanish government has rejected any possibility of easing its eviction policies. However, with homelessness becoming an increasing problem, the authorities are beginning to force banks to rent or sell the homes they’ve repossessed as low-income housing.

But families like the Romeros oftentimes refuse to go down without a fight. In many neighborhoods, mass gatherings are organized in order to buy neighbors time during an eviction. Police, unable  to get through the crowds to force the ‘evicted’ to leave, are bringing small doses of hope  for families, and small windows of opportunity to strike a deal with banks.