Gan­dia squat­ting prob­lem re­turns

Costa Levante News - - NEWS -

By Sa­man­tha Kett SQUAT­TERS have moved into homes on 14 of Gan­dia's streets – so far – and evic­tion ef­forts that were so suc­cess­ful un­der the pre­vi­ous lo­cal gov­ern­ment seem to have ground to a halt.

Ac­cord­ing to police, the il­le­gal oc­cu­pants are not sim­ply home­less peo­ple des­per­ate for ac­com­mo­da­tion but with no money – they are mostly crim­i­nals, in­volved in drug-deal­ing and run­ning un­li­censed broth­els us­ing traf­ficked women from the premises.

They nor­mally leave the prop­er­ties in foul con­di­tions, fre­quently with rub­bish heaped up, mouldy re­mains of food, and even hu­man urine and ex­cre­ment everywhere.

Gan­dia's left-wing coali­tion coun­cil has been crit­i­cised by the PP for not erad­i­cat­ing a prob­lem the lat­ter man­aged to keep on top of, board­ing up and evict­ing over 300 homes in four years.

Àn­gels Pérez, coun­cil­lor for pub­lic safety, in­sists her team does 'every­thing in its power' to crack down on squat­ting.

“As soon as we hear of a prop­erty with il­le­gal oc­cu­pants, we tell the police, who go to the house and iden­tify the peo­ple in it,” Sra Pérez in­sists.

“If there are chil­dren present, we in­form the so­cial ser­vices, and also the pros­e­cu­tion if they do not go to school.”

Most of the squats are homes re­pos­sessed by banks, which have so many on their books that they care very lit­tle about what hap­pens to them, with a few hav­ing be­longed to res­i­dents who have died, fre­quently in­tes­tate and with no fam­ily, or who have moved away and rarely visit their prop­er­ties.

“The Lo­cal Police can­not en­ter these flats to chuck peo­ple out – it's the court that has to act,” Sra Pérez ar­gues.

Around 30 or 40 homes in Gan­dia are cur­rently oc­cu­pied by squat­ters.

A build­ing oc­cu­pied by squat­ters

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