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The new Housing Law in Spain: an opportunity to achieve the eradication of slum and substandard housing settlements [editar]

Fundación Secretariado Gitano

The new Housing Law in Spain: an opportunity to achieve the eradication of slum and substandard housing settlements
  • La FSG valora positivamente los avances que implica la primera Ley de Vivienda de nuestra democracia, y confía en que su aplicación efectiva conlleve una mejora significativa de las condiciones de vivienda para los grupos en situación de mayor vulnerabilidad, como la población gitana.
  • La ley ofrece un marco de oportunidad para la erradicación de los asentamientos chabolistas y de infravivienda que requiere ahora de un desarrollo más operativo: una Estrategia Nacional para la Erradicación de los Asentamientos.

On 26 May, the new Law for the Right to Housing, which recognises the social function of housing and identifies it as a good of general interest, came into force. The Law represents a step forward in guaranteeing the right to housing, especially for those people or groups that have more difficulties in accessing decent, adequate and accessible housing.

At Fundación Secretariado Gitano we have worked intensively throughout the process of approval of the law, first with the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda and then with each and every one of the parliamentary groups in Congress. 

The new law, although still has room for improvement, includes key issues to prevent and address the discrimination and inequality that slum and substandard housing settlements still exist in our country.

Thus, the Law recognises slums as a situation of serious residential exclusion and settlements as situations of special vulnerability, and prioritises their elimination in the interventions and programmes that form part of state housing plans.

The effective application of the Law will undoubtedly contribute to tackling some of the problems of access to decent housing that affect society as a whole, but, above all, those that have a more serious impact on the most vulnerable sectors of our society. To this end, priority is given to groups in situations of poverty, social exclusion or other forms of vulnerability as the main objective of the actions of public institutions in relation to housing policies. And, among these, the child perspective, incorporated throughout the law, stands out. Households with dependent minors are identified as vulnerable households, thus recognising that access to housing is a prerequisite for the enjoyment of the rest of the fundamental rights of children.

As FSG has been denouncing for years, the processes of eradicating slums require a comprehensive approach to ensure its success: it is essential to develop long-term strategies and the development of coordinated work between authorities that incorporate not only housing policies, but also educational policies, support for labour and social inclusion. The law recognises this need to link specific measures to exercise the right to housing with others of a social nature, and the need to coordinate different public policies to guarantee success in the processes of access to housing for vulnerable groups and the eradication of slums.

Finally, it should be noted that the law incorporates the principle of equality and non-discrimination in housing, which recognises both direct and indirect discrimination. The former refers to the different treatment received by a person or group of people who are in a similar situation, and the latter refers to the treatment that occurs when any regulatory provision or initiative produces a particular disadvantage for a person or group of people.

Fundación Secretariado Gitano welcomes the approval of the Law and hopes that the public authorities responsible for its implementation will use the mandate and the tools that the law offers to address the pending challenges regarding slum and substandard housing settlements that still exist in Spain.