Municipal drive to combat evictions
27/03/2023 - 15:10
Housing. Boost for the municipal eviction mediation service with another forty workers.
The Service for Intervention in Loss of Housing Processes and Squatting (SIPHO) is boosting its ranks from 16 to 43 professionals to strengthen mediation and intervention and help families to stay in their homes. The unit helped to suspend nearly nine out of ten eviction orders in 2022.
The municipal eviction mediation service mediates between courts, property owners and affected families and forms part of the city’s network of housing offices.
The service now has its own legal team to back up its mediators and prevention staff with more tools to handle resources with greater guarantees. Families will also a reference figure throughout the process, a highly valued aspect as it helps reduce the stress and uncertainty generated by an eviction process.
By bolstering the service, its professionals will have more time and resources, be able to get information on cases further in advance and prepare a better response by activating all the housing services available, such as rent subsidies or access to social programmes such as the municipal rental pool. Wherever possible, the goal is for families to be able to stay in their homes through agreements with owners.
The SIPHO contract is for 5,091,112 euros, an amount borne by the City Council. The duration is two years, with the possibility of extending it for a further two.
Over 1,800 families helped by the service in 2022
The municipal eviction mediation service provided support for 1,881 new families in 2022, representing 4,357 people in all, a third of them minors. Some 49% of these families were facing eviction processes from owners of multiple properties, namely financial entities or private owners with more than ten or fifteen properties.
In terms of housing situations, 40% of processes were due to defaults on rental payments, 30% were for unauthorised occupation, 14% were for expiring contracts and 4% were repossessions.
Some 77% of eviction processes were suspended before the scheduled day and 10% on the actual day in 2022. In all, 87% of evictions of vulnerable families getting support from the SIPHO were stopped.