Housing crisis in Spain’s cities drives rise in homelessness as tourism booms

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Francisco Carrillo, a 62-year-old pensioner, finally found relief as he moved into a charity-provided apartment in Madrid after three years of homelessness.

Carrillo, who couldn’t afford rent after moving from southern Spain for cancer treatment, is among the many Spaniards priced out of the housing market due to a shortage of social housing and regulations discouraging long-term rentals.

The rise of holiday lets on platforms like Airbnb has exacerbated the situation, leading to increased homelessness and widespread protests.

Official statistics show homelessness in Spain has increased by 24% since 2012, with 28,000 people affected. A Bank of Spain report highlights that 45% of renters are at risk of poverty, the highest rate in Europe.

Spain’s social housing stock is only 1.5% of all homes, significantly lower than the European average of 9%. This scarcity, combined with fierce competition for rental apartments, has worsened the housing crisis.

The Socialist government plans to add 184,000 public housing units in the next three years, with a goal to reach the European average by 2027, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.


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