The Red Cross provides important help to the homeless.

24-02-2016Toni Escobar

According to a survey coordinated by Council of Majorca, there were 156 people living rough in Majorca in 2015. Assisted by the Caritas and Cruz Roja (Red Cross) charities as well as by the university and Palma town hall, the survey's findings pointed to there having been 135 homeless people in Palma; the remaining 21 were scattered around the island.

Margalida Puigserver, the councillor for welfare and social rights, says that the survey seeks to increase public awareness of the problem of homelessness, while it is also part of a campaign to improve the conditions of the homeless. "We want to bring to an end the scourge of people in the 21st century having to live on the streets."

The homeless were mostly men - 132 - with half of those on the streets having been aged between 40 and 59. The youngest was 21 and the oldest was 81.

The findings relied on making contact with homeless people and inviting them to answer questions. Not all of them answered all the questions. Only 96, for instance, stated their nationality; 54 were Spanish, ten were from an African country, three from Latin America and 28 from the European Union.

The principal reason for being on the streets was unemployment/lack of money (71%). Alcohol or drugs problems, emotional breakdown, family issues, illness, lack of documentation and death of relatives were other reasons given. Sixty-one of the 156 showed signs of alcoholism.

In 2015, 426 people were staying in shelters. Many of those, says Sebastià Cerdà, the head of social services, had "a false sense of liberty".

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