Josefa says that she has cried herself to sleep almost every night since she received the judicial notice warning her of the imminent expulsion from her home, in the Maspalomas area of San Pedro del Pinatar.
With her two children, one of them disabled her biggest fear is the moment that the bailiffs turn up to throw her out of the house, that she has lived in for many years but that is owned by La Caixa Bank.
“Social Services tell me that I must look for another house for rent but there are none, and even if I could find accommodation, with the onset of the summer tourist season I could not afford the very high prices.”
“My only lifeline at the moment is the presence of the members of the Platform of those Affected by the Mortgage (PAH) who will try to stop the eviction.”
But Josefa is not the only mother in such a situation. Carmen has two grandchildren and two children aged between 14 months and two and a half years, and she too doesn’t sleep knowing that she has already received the date of her eviction which is set for 27 June. “The only work I am able to get is for five months a year in the greenhouses and I cannot pay the rent of 300 euros,” explains the head of the family.
Paqui, who is affected by a degenerative disease, doesn’t receive enough pension even to afford a market rent. “I’ve been waiting for the social rent that La Caixa has been promising me since 2011, but now they are only granting it to those who have an income of more than 13,000 euros, in order to make sure they are paid,” he explains. I also have a date set for my eviction by court order on 2 July.
They represent just three of the many families in San Pedro del Pinatar, who have notice of imminent eviction, although there are another 30 families in San Javier and 62 Torre Pacheco who are expecting to receive their own dates very soon.
Last Tuesday many of the families gathered at the doors of the San Pedro del Pinatar Town Hall where they asked for the intervention of the mayor, Visitación Martínez, support that would at least postpone the eviction of the families, especially those who have young or disabled children in their care.
“It’s a social emergency,” says the Platform spokeswoman Charo Tárraga. “We do not simply want to postpone the eviction for a month, because it will not solve anything. There are families without light or water in San Pedro, unable to even clean themselves and many scrapping around for food, “she claims.
The new wave of evictions in the Mar Menor region has recently peaked because “the banks have introduced a new offensive to kick families out of the properties where they had previously agreed to social rents, in order to reallocate them to people who are able to pay a higher market price”. Tárraga says that “there are also unscrupulous money lenders, ‘vulture funds’, who are offering money to families in Torre Pacheco, between 2,500 and 3,000 euros. Some take the loans out of fear but others do not, because they understand that it only secures the rent for a while.”
The Platform proposes that all of the Social Care Departments representing municipalities in the Mar Menor “should enter into negotiations with the banks and financial institutions in order to at least reach temporary rental agreements for their empty homes, with maximum monthly payments of 200 euros.”
The mayor of San Pedro says that “we expect the Court to postpone the eviction next week, but we are currently looking for a rental apartment as an alternative, although during the summer the difficulty increases.”
Martinez said that “we must sit down with the banks to find out how many properties they have and at least try to reach a temporary agreement on social rents, to which we can then add our own help provided by Social Services, both with the initial deposit and with the first few months of utilities.”