Certainly, Loreto is an ignored occupant for court lingo, and it is also for the Global Pantelaria fund, third of those that have been acquiring and selling the old chalet it has occupied for ten years. But the name of this woman is not ignored in El Álamo, a small town on the western outskirts of Madrid. In fact, the Municipal Police officer who gave him the letter from the court told him when he gave it to him: “I am very sorry that it is you who I have to give this to, Loreto.” It is that they are known to see each other every day at the door of the public school, when taking the children.
Three has this unknown occupation: a little girl who wears a diadem and beads in her blonde hair and does not lose sight of the work of the photographer who has come to the house, another somewhat older who, while the mother talks, is discovering the earwigs that live under the flagstones of the garden, and a boy who suffers heart problems, a delay in maturation, and an attention deficit and hyperactivity that join him in “a severe disability that does not allow him to learn well at school,” says the mother.
Loreto’s partner is missing. He is an unemployed bricklayer, and is recovering from an operation in the hospital. The only salary that comes into the house at the moment is hers, who has just got a nine-month contract as a municipal sweeper.
These vital wickers are woven into a low house with an iron fence, porch and garden on García Lorca street in El Álamo. It is the neighborhood of “the chaleteros”, as the town called those who in the 80s came to live in the first extensions.
But Loreto, who is not an unknown occupant, is not a vest either. Or it is only because of circumstances: it does not own the chalet nor will it be. He got into it ten years ago applying inexorable logic: “I was not going to go with the children under a bridge”he explains without altering his tired tone of voice.
In other words, a series of ruins fell on her and her partner, leaving behind their period of relative prosperity. “The maximum that I have gotten to win was 1,500 euros, and for a short time; I don’t think I will win them again, ”he says at 42. At the time they were renting, but in 2011 construction stopped and the man was left without a salary. “I couldn’t pay the rent, I couldn’t pay for electricity, I couldn’t pay for water, I couldn’t buy food … I asked for help in many places, a social rent … but I couldn’t get help, I couldn’t get help … and I couldn’t stay on the street with my children ”.
“The neighbors know me”
Shortly before that moment, the crisis had also led citizen Luis García, the first owner of the villa on García Lorca Street, to fail in his payments. After defaulting on your mortgage with Santander, the neighbor left before they threw him out. There was no launch. And while the chalet slept awaiting auctions for investment funds, Loreto snuck in with the family in their empty rooms.
It wasn’t going to go under a bridge, but it could have ended up in a half-erected building, one of the wrecks left by the financial wreck of the construction companies. In 2011, the year Loreto arrived on García Lorca Street, 38,043 Spanish families had a ruin as their home, according to the INE population census. The mother of all official statistics does not collect how many of those families were occupiers. It is possible to suspect that almost all.
Ten years after committing what is legally called “housing encroachment”, the occupants of García Lorca Street belong to the new and varied class of candidates for eviction that this phase of the market for the remains of the bubble fosters. “I have spent ten years here without disturbing anyone, without breaking anything. The neighbors know me, the children are integrated into their schools, and now they are suddenly very interested in this house. Why? ”Asks Loreto.
The vociferous television in the living room regurgitates cartoons for the creatures. The mother does not have much time to search the news for answers about the good margins of the rental market, or to follow the politicians’ debate on a housing law. From the media discourse, he is irritated by the term that encompasses professional defaulters, cheeks and criminals with impoverished people. “The word ‘occupy’ is unfair,” he says. They hang the same poster on all of us, and I entered out of necessity and I am not bothering anyone, I am not taking away their home ”.
Loreto suffers from anxiety. He says that it is because of the constant fear that a warning will arrive “or a person will appear … You always live with the fear of whether it will be today or it will be tomorrow, if I will be on the street tomorrow or I will be past …”
Next February 22 is the day of judgment. “When they brought me the eviction letter, I said to myself: ‘My God, if I leave here, where do I go?’ “, says Loreto Sanz. You still have three months to negotiate the money the new homeowner’s fund offers you to leave. They call it “compensation.” “I don’t want money, I want to stay at home with a social rent,” she says. They have already explained to you that they will never give you more than the lawsuit would cost. That is the limit.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.