Giorgio Ossola, 53, has spent just over four years sleeping rough in Barcelona. Knowing firsthand the most urgent needs of homeless people, Ossola heads La Llista Invisible, the symbolic candidacy presented yesterday by the Arrels Foundation with the hope that political parties take into account his proposals to mitigate homelessness. Along with Giorgio, this particular list is made up of Catalina, a volunteer from Arrels; Jordi, Gustavo and Anna, who also lived on the street; Andrea, social worker; Daniel, a doctor specializing in the care of homeless citizens, and Eva, a lawyer for the entity.
From a slope light years away from the tiring struggles between the mayors to scratch votes, Arrels has launched constructive, imaginative messages that arouse the interest of the citizen at the first opportunity. On Monday, he released some striking electoral posters in which the images of Ada Colau (Comuns), Jaume Collboni (PSC), Xavier Trias (Junts) and the Republican Ernest Maragall were transmuted. In the propaganda, the politicians show their best face, while in the game that Arrels proposes, thanks to artificial intelligence, they look haggard and aged, the one they would have if they spent a season without a roof.
Ferran Busquets, director of Arrels, regrets that the problem of men and women who subsist in the open has barely appeared in the electoral campaign. "There has been much talk about housing, which is very important, but we have not seen proposals related to homelessness," says Busquets. It should be remembered that in the last count organized by Arrels, in 2022, 1,231 people were counted in the open. The situation, far from improving, is suspected to be getting worse.
Every afternoon, around 3:30 p.m., there are queues of people seeking help in the open center of this foundation. Some make an appointment to take a shower or use the locker, others to talk to a social educator, request information... About two years ago Giorgio Ossola changed his life by being able to leave the street; He now stays in an apartment in Arrels and works as a reception manager for the entity. “The most necessary thing is to open small spaces in all the neighborhoods of Barcelona, that are more humane and efficient, that are low-demand so that people who consume alcohol can enter. When you feel loved, the results come”, considers Giorgio. This is point number one on the list of six proposals put forward by Arrels.
Andrea Fernández, a 26-year-old social worker and the youngest member of this particular candidacy, puts on the table "how difficult it is for many to register, a right that they don't even know they have and that it is very difficult for them to exercise" because of their extremely precarious situation and also for not having documentation.
“We work with people who are so chronic, with so much time on the street, that they no longer want anything, that the only thing you can do is visit them, chat and offer them a coffee to try to create a bond”, says Fernández.
The Invisible Llista urges politicians to solve basic issues, such as enabling showers, lockers and dining rooms in all districts; modify the coexistence ordinances so that those who subsist outdoors are not fined, and that the different municipal services show more sensitivity towards this group. Fernández gives an example: "That the cleaning services do not throw away the belongings of these people."