The process of exclusion experienced by the homeless is progressing at a faster rate than the ability of social services to care for them. This is one of the messages that Carmen Forte, Director of the Homelessness Department at Barcelona City Council, gave yesterday at the symposium. Health when living on the street , held at CosmoCaixa. Although the number of accommodations for this group has increased by 32% since 2018 and currently stands at 2,800, municipal resources are up to 100% and waiting lists for access are several months away.
Forte warned that the figure the city council deals with of 900 people spending the night in the open in the city could be increased after calculating the arrival of 400 young immigrants without family references to Catalonia in the past three months. Participants in the symposium, which was promoted by the NGOs Salut Sense Sostre and Missatgers per la Pau, emphasized throughout the day the need to make the health care access system for this group more flexible, especially for the paperless. Data provided by Fortea indicates that 80% of the 900 people sleeping outdoors suffer from some type of health disorder, which in 50% of cases is associated with mental illness, and that 32% of these men and women come from non-EU countries.
Symposium participants demand greater flexibility in access to health care for homeless citizens
Dr. Alba Martinez of ICS noted that the immigration process and “the impossibility of obtaining a residence or work permit leads them to homelessness and poverty, and their health is deteriorating”. The most important diseases discovered are those related to “dentistry, consumption of toxic substances, mental health, scabies, trauma, aggression; in the emotional sphere, the longing for the mother figure, the concern for distance and the lack of a job,” as emphasized in the letter given yesterday by Martinez.
Speakers agreed on the need to improve coordination between social and health services to facilitate access to health resources for the displaced. Notable is the role played by the Salut Sense Sostre, an organization made up of a team of volunteer nurses, doctors, and psychologists, mostly retired, who care for the most vulnerable in the Santa Ana field hospital and in mother missionaries. Theresa from Calcutta. They also started a project of a kind of mobile consultancy, an ambulance that tours the city to visit whoever needs it.
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