The first 45 families to be evicted from the Son Banya shanty town have to leave before the initial phase of demolition that will commence on 17 April. Some of these families need somewhere to rent, and Palma town hall is experiencing difficulties in finding accommodation. The councillor for welfare and social rights, Mercè Borràs, is therefore calling for "solidarity" and for collaboration from the owners of some 16,000 empty properties in the city.
Sixteen of the families have a right to municipal assistance on account of their lack of resources; nine have in fact been assigned to publicly owned properties. As for the remaining seven, there is no more availability of these properties and it is proving impossible to rent from the private sector. "It's not a price problem, as the town hall will give help of up to 1,000 euros per months," says Joan Antoni Salas, the director-general for welfare and social rights. "We knew that it would be difficult, but we are finding that it is impossible."
Borràs explains that families leaving Son Banya have municipal and professional support. If someone wishes to rent a property to one of these families, the department will explain the programme for housing and the conditions of rental agreement. Salas adds that rent payments will be guaranteed for five years. "It will be town hall which directly pays the owner."
The town hall is specifically looking for three-room properties for families with children and also for one-room accommodation. The preference is that properties are not in "vulnerable" neighbourhoods, but Borràs notes that the town hall isn't placing conditions in this regard.
Of the nine publicly owned properties which have been found, three are from the government's Ibavi housing agency, four are from the municipal housing trust and the other two have been ceded to the town hall by banks. Some of them, Borràs concedes, are in vulnerable districts of the city.
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