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In view of the social emergency many Roma families are facing, the aid promised by the Government during the Covid-19 crisis must urgently be delivered to the most vulnerable people and neighbourhoods now [editar]


In view of the social emergency many Roma families are facing, the aid promised by the Government during the Covid-19 crisis must urgently be delivered to the most vulnerable people and neighbourhoods now

At the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, we welcomed the package of social measures which the Government approved on 14th March. Ten days later, we ask for these measures to be applied urgently to tackle the social emergency and the lack of protection faced by many families in the most vulnerable neighbourhoods.

In view of the predicted social impact of the Covid-19 health crisis, in particular the social situation generated by the state of alarm and the stoppage of practically all economic activity, the Fundación Secretariado has emphasised to the various levels of public administration (local, regional and state level) the need to prioritise help for families living in extreme poverty, or living in neglected settlements or areas without even minimal sanitary facilities. This is the situation of a high proportion of Roma families (46% of Roma people live in extreme poverty, while more than 9000 Roma families live in substandard housing).

Our “Proposals for urgent measures for the Roma population most affected by the Coronavirus” (17th March) sought to ensure social and health protection for the most vulnerable Roma families. However, today, ten days after the approval of the social assistance package, we are concerned about the social and health emergency facing many Roma families living in segregated settlements or highly vulnerable neighbourhoods. These families include 47,000 individuals who at this moment lack food and other basic necessities of life. In many cases these are families who, contrary to what is often believed, do not receive any basic income or social welfare payments (only 1 in 4 Roma families receive welfare payments). There is also the aggravating factor that these families include many children living in poverty (the childhood poverty index in the Roma community stands at 89%), and they have not yet received the aid, in the form of food or money, promised by the Government.

Given that the impact of the Coronavirus crisis is greater for those already in a situation of vulnerability (such as the elderly, the homeless or families living in extreme poverty), to distribute aid and other resources effectively they must be directed as a priority towards the most vulnerable individuals and neighbourhoods. In relation to the package of social measures approved in the Royal Decree 8/2020 of 18th March, we therefore call upon the Government to establish these priorities, and to communicate them to the Autonomous Communities and local governments who are ultimately responsible for aid delivery and distribution, so that in the coming days these families are provided with food and other basic necessities.

We understand that local government and social services are working at full capacity at this time, and for this reason we also call on the public administration to collaborate with social organisations such as ours, who work every day with the most vulnerable people and who understand their situation and their needs. We also ask the administration to assist in the creation of mechanisms to aid collaboration between Social Services and specialist NGOs in order to support this work (providing information about the families whose situations are most critical, enabling aid to be delivered, advising families on available resources, etc). Collaboration with the Military Emergency Unit (UME) or Civil Protection forces may also be required to distribute the aid. At the Fundación Secretariado Gitano we have offered the public administration all our support and the work of our teams, to serve as a bridge and to help channel information and support to the more than 30,000 Roma people we work with every year.

We therefore ask the public administration for the following:

  • urgency in the application of the Government-approved package of social measures at Autonomous Community and local levels
  • the establishment of priorities which focus on the most vulnerable people and neighbourhoods, and the swift communication of these priorities to Autonomous Communities and local governments
  • collaboration with the social organisations who can support these processes.