Ainhoa has not been able to sleep tonight in his room at Luna 32. He knew that at 8.30 a.m. a judicial commission would arrive to execute the eviction of nine of his neighbors, requested by the Madrid City Council, and he was afraid that it would also touch him to her. Shortly after the scheduled launch time, he emerged from the police cordon with reddened eyes and nervous voice. It seems that today he will sleep in his bed, but he does not know how long.
Almeida prepares the eviction of the dozens of families that inhabit Luna 32
“By December they want us all out,” he explains on a sidewalk on Calle San Bernardo. She is 27 years old and has lived for five years with her three daughters in this municipal building almost next to Gran Vía. Two of them, the youngest, have only known this house since they were born. They are there because they cannot find any affordable place to rent in Madrid. He wants to leave, but complains that the City Council is not helping him. “I can’t leave, I need a place that I can pay to take my daughters with me,” she laments.
“The only option they have given me is to go to a shared house for three months, I am afraid of going to live with my daughters in a place that I do not know,” she says between sobs. She also fears that, once this period is over, social services will separate her from her daughters: her economic situation is not good – she currently receives the subsidy – and she also has to take care of her disabled mother. “I ask for a social rent, something that I can pay, because I don’t have the € 3,000 that are needed today in Madrid to rent a flat,” he complains.
The case of the Ainhoa family is just one of the dozens that live together in Luna 32, inside a building that the City Council expropriated more than 15 years ago and that has become the municipal place with the largest number of people living in the wrongdoing . Neighbors estimate that up to 180 adults and 30 children have resided inside, although some are leaving before the police kick them out. María, another of its occupants, has no intention of leaving: she is the mother of another 11-year-old girl, who is also not convinced to go to emergency accommodation, where she does not know anyone: “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” , admits when crossing the police fence to go buy six cartons of milk.
María, Ainhoa and their respective families live in the building that was once known as the Palace of the Infanta Carlota, until an Iranian businessman destroyed its historical value from the inside during a renovation. It was when the municipal expropriation came and the time when part of its current tenants arrived. The councilors of Más Madrid, present at the eviction, ask that Almeida’s team treat them as if they were tenants with whom they have contracted a responsibility. “There has been more time than enough to look for an alternative,” complained the mayor Javier Barbero this morning, who accused the mayor of “doing nothing” to solve this problem or the difficulty of finding affordable housing in Madrid.
Barbero also regretted the huge police device deployed from 6.45 am for an eviction in which there has been no incident: several cars of the Local Police and the National Police cut off access to the area at five points in Malasaña. Also to the councilman of Más Madrid himself, who had come together with his partner Mar Barberán to inquire about the situation of the evicted families. “It is a criminalization of poverty,” he denounced while demanding that the City Council put the social as the “first criterion” when deciding what to do with cases like these. “There are school children who do not know if they will be able to continue with their classmates or not,” he added.
Nine evictions, four emergency relocations
This Wednesday’s launches are just the first in a long series that is expected to extend over the next few weeks on Luna Street. Five of these families have availed themselves of some of the aid offered by social services: “They have been processed to access alternative accommodation,” they explain from the area of Families, Equality and Social Welfare. Four other people have applied for an emergency place at the Samur Social today. Among those affected and who did not plan to leave this morning were an elderly man and a mother with a three-month-old baby, according to neighborhood sources consulted by Somos Malasaña. The latter has moved to another home, without requiring municipal help, according to data provided by the council.
The Madrid City Council explains that it is still pending the rest of the families, although it indicates that some “have not attended the repeated appointments of the social services so that they can qualify for the different benefits.” From the area directed by Pepe Aniorte they detail that the alternative accommodation benefits are granted according to the needs and vulnerability of the tenants and are located in shared housing or in Samur Social squares, and can last a year. Also, depending on the case, procedures can be initiated to relocate them in EMVS homes. “No one is going to stay on the street,” they say.
“It is an invisible eviction,” complained this morning Jordi Gordon, from the SOS Malasaña neighborhood association, which has been supporting and helping the inhabitants of Luna 32 in recent years. Neighbors complain that no written alternatives are being offered to those affected and that there is no urgency to recover the space: “This building is going to be walled up because there is no intended destination for this,” he added. On November 30, evictions will return for another eight families.
“And Almeida can’t do anything?” Soraya, another of those who fear that expulsion is near, said next to him. “I look forward to you coming here the key ring to tell him various things, “he humorously explained to the councilors of Más Madrid:” Don’t you have his phone number? ”