Homeless expats in Spain start petition for universal payments

Published:  24 Feb at 6 PM
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Homeless expats in Spain use their experience to help others.

Retirees heading for a new life in Spain after selling their UK home may believe they’re set up for the rest of their lives, but experience shows disaster can strike through no fault of their own. One expat couple who’d emigrated from the UK lived the dream for a full 17 years before it crashed in ruins, leaving them homeless and desperate.

Recently, Vivian and John had planned to move house after selecting a new rental property but, after they’d given up their previous rental home, their new landlady took one look at John and changed her mind. He’d recently been diagnosed with a virus following a cancer scare and had lost four stone in weight as well as being unable to work. The couple were left with no option but to find temporary accommodation and tried Fuengirola, Alhaurin and Mijas without success as it was Feria week.

They ended up sleeping in a public toilet and stayed there for five long weeks, during which time Vivian was beaten up and all their belongings were stolen. Worse still, a banking error left them without Vivian’s weekly income, meaning they couldn’t even afford the cheapest hostel in the town. As if the above wasn’t enough, the couple had refused to abandon their pets, with their cat Oscar with them during the entire nightmare and their two dogs in kennels running up bills they couldn’t pay.

Finally, their luck changed after they met up with Argentinean personal trainer Oscar, also living on the streets after his temporary contract ended. Fully aware due to his own circumstances that Spanish charities are unable to help, Oscar has now started a petition calling for universal payments to those temporarily homeless in order to allow them to live with at least a little dignity.

Vivian’s missing payments finally arrived and the couple are now renting again, but she'll always remember that it was Spaniards who treated them with kindness whilst British expats simply stared in a disapproving manner. She told local media she and her husband will always do what they can to help the homeless, adding no-one can see what’s around one of life’s little corners.
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