The La Laguna City Council delivered during the past 2022, from the Social Welfare Area, a total of 3,425 municipal economic benefits to neighbors for an amount of 1,056,901 euros, which means 253 more social aids and an increase of more of 200,000 euros compared to 2021, when 3,172 benefits were granted for a value of 831,687 euros, according to official data provided from the area.
Specifically, the vast majority of benefits granted during the past year were for food, with a total of 2,266 for a value of 379,850 euros; followed by those for rent, which with 139 grants accounted for a game of 252,388 euros. Other of the most requested were for electricity, with 249 grants for 81,190 euros; for ocular prostheses, with 183 for 34,400 euros; for the water bill, with 177 for 24,298 euros; for basic household items, with 111 for 40,677 euros, or for dental treatments, with 160 for 97,431 euros.
Other of these municipal benefits are for basic items for children or special items for the elderly and people with disabilities, as well as aid for private nursery schools when there are no more places in the public ones, for hearing aids, pharmaceutical expenses, the removal of architectural barriers, for housing maintenance or alternative accommodation.
Compared to 2021, in 2022 340 more aids for food were given for an additional 93,893 euros; as well as 33 more for rent for 83,729 euros more. Among the others, there is the circumstance that although in 2021 more aid was given for electricity bills (319), the economic item in 2022 was higher, with almost 20,000 more euros.
In addition, as explained from the area, to these benefits we must add that during the past 2022 a direct subsidy was also managed to alleviate situations of social vulnerability derived from COVID, granted by the Cabildo and which amounted to 969,744 euros. Of this total, 141 aids were managed for rent and/or community for 583,832 euros, most of it in charge of the island subsidy and another municipal part. In addition, 407 social cards were granted, for 439,962 euros, for food, personal and household hygiene, and pharmacy.
Likewise, it should be remembered that other complementary lines of support managed by the Social Welfare Area are added to the municipal economic benefits, and items from the Canary Islands Government as well.
Regarding the evolution of municipal benefits between 2021 and 2022, the Councilor for Social Welfare, Rubens Ascanio, pointed out that the figures show that “it is noted that the level of general demand for aid is maintained”, while indicating that attempts are also being made to expedite procedures. “We have incorporated three more workers and the social care office for people who come for the first time, and that also speeds up the care rates, and, therefore, it is seen in the number of aids processed,” he explained. .
Ascanio explained that rent and food aid “are the most in demand” and recalled that “we have increased the amounts of aid.” “Before, the maximum was ordinary food, around 120-150 euros, and now we have practically doubled the amounts, which also increases investment in this type of aid,” he said, while acknowledging that You have noticed the increase in prices.
“The increase in the level of demand for food cards is noticeable, and we understand that one of the possible answers is that the cards have to be more recurring because people are tighter when it comes to buying, due to the rise in prices,” he said. .
And regarding rental benefits, he pointed out that “there are families for whom we have managed to cover the rent for almost all of 2022, when they are highly vulnerable situations to avoid evictions.”
Regarding the aid for the electricity bill and its relationship with the increase in the price of energy, the councilor explained that “what is noted in the receipts is that the debts are of greater amounts, and that in the end has a effect on the linked budget, and it is true that there are families that have had some increases in the bill”. Although he pointed out that “with the change in the bases we are speeding up the procedures more and more.”
Then he recalled that there are other aids for “small interventions” in the homes of older people who have accessibility problems, or those intended, among others, for ocular prostheses or dental treatment. Regarding the latter, he indicated that “from the City Council we have addressed in this mandate, and that we have not been able to achieve, to establish some type of municipal oral health program that also allows us to directly complement this type of action, because it is true that there is a great need. We have tried various approaches to the issue but have encountered technical drawbacks.”
For this year, Rubens Ascanio highlighted that “items related to Social Welfare have increased significantly, we have gone from about 25 million in 2022 to more than 29 million in 2023”, which will be reflected in all items and benefits municipal social
In this sense, the mayor of La Laguna, Luis Yeray Gutiérrez, emphasized that “social care is the top priority of this government group. In these four years we have increased the budget of the Social Welfare Area by 85%, because we are committed to guaranteeing that no person in our municipality lacks the basic benefits to face situations of inequality”.
The municipal councilor defended that “we have made a significant effort in favor of social justice, but obviously we still have a long way to go to meet all the needs faced by part of the population.”
Likewise, it should be remembered that the modification of the ordinance that regulates the granting of municipal economic benefits was approved at the beginning of 2021, facilitating the processes, doubling the maximum amounts and increasing the frequencies.
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