The number of homeless people in Tenerife skyrockets, with almost 1,000 more than in 2020

Cáritas Diocesana has identified 2,738 people in a situation of extreme residential exclusion on the island of Tenerife. It is one of the conclusions of a study carried out in 2021 that shows a number of affected almost a thousand higher than the 1,784 in the second half of 2020, which was the first time that this field work commissioned by the Cabildo de Tenerife was carried out.

Homeless people increase in part due to the ability to identify extreme situations with Caritas teams working on the ground, with more contact with people excluded from the right to decent housing and with more coordination with the administrations, explained Úrsula Peñate, who has directed this work.

People in extreme residential exclusion are those who cannot access or maintain adequate and stable housing.

This increase in Tenerife has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited access to administrative, social and health services that are increasingly linked to technologies to which a large part of the population does not have easy access, according to This studio.

Of these 2,738 people excluded from a residence, a large part, up to 37%, live directly in the open, but also in shelters or night accommodation centers (8.7%), where places have less and less turnover because the who use them do not find alternative residences.

There is also 15.3% of those affected who live in a house, but not in their own because they have lost it, either due to evictions or because they cannot pay the rent; and another 15.8% stay in cabins, shacks, caravans or caves.

Cáritas has identified that 73.9% of these people are men, but women are increasing and have gone from representing 20% ​​in 2020 to 25% in 2021, and the trans community is also rising among the affected people.

By age, homeless men are on average 45 years old, in the case of women 35 years old, and 150 minors have been identified living with their families, normally single mothers, although with social services monitoring.

By municipality, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the one in which the most homeless people have been located, 953; followed by Arona, with 441; The Lagoon, with 442; Adeje, with 166; Puerto de la Cruz, with 134; and Granadilla, with 128.

Cáritas has detected in this study the persistence and chronification of homelessness, since 62% of those affected have been homeless for more than a year and 32%, more than three years.

Main causes of homelessness

Unemployment, job insecurity, lack of public aid, the exhaustion of unemployment benefits, the exclusive requirements to access the real estate market, evictions and foreclosures, mental health and addictions are some of the reasons that the affected explain as the origin of their situation.

Almost six out of ten of the 2,738 affected are Spanish, but 77 nationalities have been identified. Behind the Spaniards, who are 57.5%, are the Moroccans (6.4%), the Senegalese (4.1%), the Venezuelans (4%), the Italians (3.7%) and the Germans (1.8%).

Overall, 71.4 percent are European and ten of the twenty nationalities with the most affected people are from the European Union.

These data indicate that the proliferation of homeless people is not linked to the arrival of people in small boats, explained Úrsula Peñate.

The president of the Cabildo de Tenerife, Pedro Martín, who was present at the presentation of the study, highlighted the importance of having a diagnosis on homeless people, which did not exist until 2020, in order to be able to direct public policies.

He stressed that, as a result of this diagnosis, one million euros have been added to the budget of 1.6 million euros planned for 2021 this year.

Marián Franquet, councilor of Social Action of the Cabildo, reviewed the actions of the corporation in the area and underlined as “pending subject” the coordination between public administrations, given the “complex distribution of powers”.

The secretary general of Caritas in Tenerife, Ricardo Iglesias, stressed that all these people live deprived of fundamental rights recognized by the Spanish Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This study, said the Caritas representative, is a useful tool for the Cabildo and other administrations to face “this social scourge.”

Among other proposals, Ricardo Iglesias raised the need for there to be a diagnosis of the housing in each territory, that forced evictions cannot be carried out without a housing alternative, that temporary accommodation be provided and that municipal emergency aid not be conditioned to minimum enrollment periods.

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