Soup kitchens, just one aspect of Caritas work.


he Caritas church charity in Majorca is blaming property speculation for adding to the island's poverty. Many tenants are unable pay rents being demanded and are becoming squatters in order to have somewhere to live.

The charity's director, Margalida Maria Riutort, describes the increase in the cost of property as "savage". She says that the lack of affordable housing is one of the charity's biggest concerns. Last year, there were up to 800 cases of Caritas having provided financial aid for rent payments.

Rents that might be affordable in winter - 400 or 500 euros a month - can shoot up to as much as 1,200 euros in summer, a price that is impossible for many people, given what they earn.

Riutort was speaking on Thursday at the presentation of the charity's annual report for 2016. She acknowledged that there are more jobs but that a great deal of them are "precarious". In some instances, people have three to four jobs in order to make ends meet. She quoted the words of Pope Francis in denouncing the "disgrace" of a society in which the rich get ever richer and the poor get poorer.

In 2016, Caritas attended to 7,885 people, which was 17% lower than in 2015. Riutort explained that there is a "feminisation" of poverty, with 61% of those who they assisted having been women. The current economic situation is helping men to get into the labour market more than it is women.

Looking ahead, Caritas is working on creating a business for job placement. Riutort said that the charity hopes to have this up and running this year. The general administrator, Sebastiana Santmartí, explained that the charity's total revenue for 2016 was up by 8.5% to 3.4 million euros. Two-thirds of this came from its own activities, with public revenue having decreased in 2016. The charity employs 75 people and draws on almost 1,000 volunteers.


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Steve, Palma Nova / Hace over 4 years

Bullsh*t. So poor, low earning outsiders can't afford to live here. Well why not go to London, Switzerland or the French Riviera and have a look around there ?


Richard Pearson / Hace over 4 years

What do you mean by "local" people ?. It´s precisely them who don´t have a problem. Who do have a problem, and it´s a massive one, are the people that come over from the mainland or South America to work in the hospitality and hotel industry, not forgetting the Brits (amongst others) who come to work in the yachting industry.

I´m sorry Steve, but your comments have shown that you have no idea about the seriousness of the problem in a place surrounded by sea, and not like, for instance, London, where commuting is sometime the only option. One can only commute so far on an island.

This situation needs to be addresed now, and not in ten years time after the money, if it ever is, is found to finance social housing. The could start tomorrow for instance with Son Dureta.


Steve Riches / Hace over 4 years

The only logical answer I can see at the moment is to leave the tourism rental market alone because it funds the life of a relatively rich island BUT the politicians need to create a separate ring-fenced market to suit the needs of local people. There's nothing wrong with building new property blocks which are only for local people, owned and managed by the council, with rents that are affordable, and with swingeing penalties for anyone who sub-lets.


Richard Pearson / Hace over 4 years

It is impossible to combine tourism with an affordable rental market. Something will have to give, and soon. If not the consecuences will be not worth thinking about, especially In Ibiza, Palma and in the north of the island.