11 families sleeping on the street

ELEVEN families have been evacuated from their homes in the 80 Viviendas area of Vera due to damages caused when carrying out work in one of the flats. The gypsy families spent Friday night sleeping outdoors but complain that the mayor did not pay them a visit. Their spokeswoman, Maria Salinas, says that cracks have appeared in the pillars and beams which they believe may have been worsened by the earthquake in Lorca on May 11.

One of the residents began to carry out work in the bathroom and found part of the structure began to collapse.

The Local Police cordoned off the homes but the families refused to go to the local sports centre where they had been offered shelter because they claim they were “being asked to sleep on inflatable mattresses on the floor like dogs”. They also refused to leave their belongings behind.

Salinas says the mayor has promised them keys to other houses, but they are not sure if this will happen as they have not paid their water bills for up to 15 years, some people owing more than €7,000.

The Junta de Andalucia Public Works and Housing Department has announced it will assign three homes in a recently built complex, while specialists from the town hall determine the extent of the damage and whether the houses can be repaired.

The houses were built more than 30 years ago and since then, no repairs or refurbishment has been carried out. Salinas says they paid 45,000 pesetas (€270) for them when they were first allowed to live there, and since then, no-one has asked them for any more money or rent, and they haven’t been given the deeds.

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