The president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, warned this morning of the need to “take all possible measures to prevent the existing social emergency from getting even worse”. The president stressed the importance of implementing a social policy backed by “an unprecedented level of investment” and reiterated that governments at all levels must deploy “all available resources” to tackle the crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We still can’t grasp how it’s possible that the Spanish government hasn’t taken decisions that would help us save jobs and pursue social policies.” The president said he had once again called on the central government to transfer “the €15bn that I asked for, without which we won’t be able to overcome the challenges we face”.
In response to recent criticism from Spain’s Minister of Defence about President Torra’s “complaints”, the head of the executive said: “I can assure her that we’ll be complaining every day and every hour to demand the resources Catalonia needs to implement economic recovery and social protection policies.”
The president stressed that it is important at this point to focus on the economic recovery plan and try to “save as many jobs as possible”, and that the plan for addressing the social emergency currently being developed by the Catalan government needs the same level of attention. “All our efforts and resources need to go in both directions [because] behind the health emergency and the economic emergency, there’s a social emergency”.
The president made these remarks during a visit to Llar Pere Barnés, a residential facility for the homeless in Barcelona, operated by the Arrels Foundation. The residence is part of a project aimed at providing medium- and long-term residential resources for homeless people who have been physically and psychologically affected by the experience of living on the streets.
620 emergency places for the homeless
Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, a total of 620 emergency places for homeless people have been made available, but there are still over 1200 people sleeping on the streets. President Torra expressed his gratitude for the work done by social organisations over recent months. In particular, he praised Llar Pere Barnés for closing off the centre and keeping all of its residents confined to avoid spreading the virus.
Since 1987, the Arrels Foundation has provided assistance to 14,700 homeless people on their journey to self-sufficiency, offering guidance and practical services, including accommodation, meals and social and health care.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the Catalan president has held meetings with social organisations to stay informed of their needs during the health crisis. With the entry into Phase 2 of the lockdown exit, the head of the executive decided to pay a visit to the centre to learn first-hand about the foundation’s work and new needs related to the Covid-19 pandemic.