Arrels Fundació: help, raise awareness & denounce
Covering the basic needs of homeless people living on the streets of Barcelona, raising public awareness and denouncing unjust situations are the three pillars of action and raison d’être of Arrels Fundació in its fight against homelessness. We spoke with the director of Arrels, Ferran Busquets, to find out what he does and how the organisation is facing the current economic situation.
In an economic context marked by rising inflation and when we are on the verge of a new recession, the social issue of exclusion has its greatest exponent in homelessness. Organisations such as Arrels help and make visible those who are invisible in a society that does not always prioritise the social welfare of people.
But what exactly does the Arrels Fundació do? Its mission is divided into three parts: attention to people, awareness-raising and denunciation. As Busquets explains, “we attend to some 230 people, who are housed with our different services, and we reach more than 500 people who are sleeping on the street”.
Even so, we need to raise awareness in society and change the way it views homeless people, “explaining to the public the reality of people who sleep on the street, and putting very unfair situations on the table, publicly”, says the director of Arrels.
The importance of the foundation’s human capital
The social stigma and prejudices that blame or hold homeless people responsible for their situation often do not reflect the complexity of the multiple causes that lead to residential exclusion. As Busquets points out, “people who sleep rough are highly stigmatised: ‘they are on the street because they want to be, they are drunks…’, but there are many people who end up on the street because they don’t have the same options as the rest of us“.
The sense of failure of ending up sleeping rough has an important psychological impact that constitutes a risk factor for mental health problems. This is where the importance of human capital and social professionals is key in supporting these vulnerable people.
“The most important decision we make at the foundation is to hire people or bring in volunteers, because we have to establish a bond with these people that place us on the same level as we place our family“, says Busquets.
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