These farm workers are extended until they receive their first salary and can afford to rent a room
The Caritas passers-by shelter is experiencing a change in the profile of users who need a roof to sleep. Before, it mainly cared for people who are passing through and the average time of stay was three days, but, in the last year, they are resorting to this service, above all, seasonal workers who come to the city without economic resources to work in field. The hostel has adapted to this new reality and the reception of day laborers in this situation is usually for a month, “until they receive their first salary and can afford to rent a room or access a more stable resource” provided by Cáritas, explains to THE TRUTH Marta López-Tortosa, head of the homeless and housing of the religious organization.
The pedestrian shelter has 11 beds and opened its doors in its current location, in a municipal building on Marmolico Street, in February 2020. That year, due to mobility restrictions due to the pandemic, the number of users was 333 people, 271 men and 52 women, but in 2021 the number of users has skyrocketed to 596 people. In the winter season, the average occupancy is very high and ranges between 80% and 100% of its capacity.
It is the only service of this type in the region, highlights the head of Cáritas, which is why people looking for a roof in the towns of Totana, Aledo, Águilas and Puerto Lumbreras are referred to the Lorca shelter. “There is coordination with the Police,” which in many cases makes it easier for people who are on the street to get to the shelter.
“We are working on these new needs, studying the reality” of the homeless to address new resources. “The objective of Caritas is that everyone can have access to a home” and faces this task with the regional and local administrations.
The shelter is staffed daily by a Caritas technician, but it needs volunteers. Ideally, there would be one every day of the week to “bring the reality of homeless people closer to society,” said López Tortosa, who acknowledged the difficulty of finding these volunteers due to the “complexity of the schedule”, since it is open from nine at night to eight in the morning.
Blankets and hot drinks
Red Cross has prepared its social emergency unit to assist homeless people on nights of intense cold. Equipped with warm clothes, blankets and hot drinks, a group of six people looks for people who are out in the open or in precarious conditions and encourages those they find to come to the shelter or the El Buen Camino shelter. “They don’t always allow themselves to be helped,” explains the president of the Red Cross in Lorca, Martín Ruiz, to LA TRUTH. The usual thing is that they take refuge under a bridge, in construction huts or in abandoned houses where volunteers arrive.
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