19th April 2024
Sitges News

Illegally occupied properties in Bòbila neighbourhood of Sitges causing tension

The problem of housing in Sitges means that many families cannot afford to live in the town, and it is a complex situation.

Eduvigis Salazar and her family have been illegally occupying a flat in the Bòbila area, on Carrer Ramon Figueres, for the past seven years. It is a neighbourhood where several properties have been illegally occupied in recent times.

Up until now, they had been able to live normally in the flat, but since last summer they have received pressure to leave the property by the ‘Desokupa’ organisation. It is a group that is officially in charge of ‘mediating’ – yet often with irregular actions and sometimes with the use of force – between property owners and squatters, and the organisation has also been linked to the extreme right.

‘The flat belonged to a bank. We moved in to occupy it when some friends left, because the block was abandoned. All the houses were full, and they had never bothered us,’ Salazar told L’Eco.

She is a 47-year-old single mother, living with her 26-year-old son, 28-year-old daughter and five-year-old granddaughter, who is disabled.

Salazar said that everything changed in the summer: ‘A real estate company bought the building. And first they came to offer us money to leave. Most of the neighborhood left; now we only have two floors left. We have been offered 3,000 euros, but where do we go with that? We have nowhere to go.’

Three weeks ago, they cut off the electricity and water, which until then had been the responsibility of the owner. ‘They have also threatened us with ripping out the pipes or entering to do construction work on the block with us still inside. And we have a guard at the door so we can’t restore the light,’ she said.

She claimed that ‘they want us to leave without any letter, or trial, or anything’ – although L’Eco understands there is already an eviction order. According to the Garraf Mortgage Affected Platform, however, cutting off supplies is illegal.

The Sitges Council’s Department of Social Rights has said they have taken care of all the families in the block affected by this situation from the start. They have said that emergency alternatives have also been offered; Sitges has these through hostels and resources in inclusive housing, which are currently full or in the process of resolving calls. In addition, they said that Social Services can offer support to families in the event that they find a rental or some other housing alternative, such as bail bonds or rent grants.

According to the other residents of the area, this block of flats on Carrer Ramon Figueres had been where the most conflicts arose, with problems related to drug trafficking or noise at night. However, they said that after the departure of most of the occupants of the building, the situation has changed and has also required less police presence.

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