Time is running out for the 210 people facing eviction this morning

Time is running out for the 210 people facing eviction this morning

Arona City Council said last night that they are working against the clock to prevent the scheduled eviction today (Tuesday) of 90 families, totalling 210 people, from the Chasna building in Costa del Silencio, located in the south of Tenerife. The building is at risk of collapse due to structural weakness, but so far, the local authorities' efforts to find alternative housing for the inhabitants have been unsuccessful.

As previously reported by Canarian Weekly on Saturday, the 90 families occupying 44 apartments in the building, including babies, children, elderly people, and pregnant women, are set to be evicted around 9:30 tomorrow morning by order of Arona Court of First Instance number 3.

According to the EFE News Agency, the court order, as explained by Arona City Council's Social Services Councillor Ruth Martín, "did not take into account vulnerability reports, prioritising people's safety."

Martín claims they are working "against the clock" to find a solution. They have attempted to get support from organisations such as Cáritas and the Red Cross, and even the Government Sub-delegation, to explore the possibility of providing spaces in migrant camps at Las Raíces, but so far, nothing has been achieved.

Asked about contacts with the regional Government, the Canarian Institute of Housing, and the Tenerife Cabildo, she confirms that these institutions have also been unable to provide a solution because "all resources are saturated."

Help is not expected either from hotels, aparthotels, hostels, pensions, and inns because "there are no vacancies, as we are in the midst of the winter tourist season, the high season, with all practically at 100% occupancy until the end of March after Easter.

She also mentioned that the Arona Social Services team considered the option of creating some space themselves, an idea that has been dismissed to avoid setting a precedent. "Why would we set up a pavilion now if we didn't do it last week with the two families who were left homeless?" she said.

Ruth Martín explains that the case of the Chasna building has gained media attention due to the number of people facing eviction, but Arona municipality, she warns, confronts this situation "every day," with the region reporting between 10 and 12 evictions per month.

The situation in the South is "Out of Control"

The head of the Department of Social Services hopes to find a solution but also expects that this "misfortune" will serve to awaken people about the "serious problem we have in the Canary Islands."

"We have shantytowns, caravan and trailer parks, a lot of people living in cars, caves, and huts. The situation in the south of Tenerife is out of control, especially in the municipality of Arona," says Martín.

In her opinion, this housing emergency stems from the Housing Law that came into effect in 2021, intended to protect tenants from economic problems arising from the COVID pandemic.

"The law has caused landlords to panic, and most of them have withdrawn properties from the residential market and moved them to holiday rentals which they consider to be safer."

She adds that the "few" residential properties remaining in the market have “ridiculously increased in price" and have "very high" requirements, such as high incomes, no children, and deposits of three or four months. "Even if you work, it is currently impossible to afford the rent in the south of Tenerife," she warns.

In addition to time, the building residents in Costa del Silencio have also complained about the impossibility of being able to register for municipal emergency aid.

Regarding this aspect, Martín argues that the Arona City Council's Census Department decided a week ago to block this process due to the "imminent" eviction of families from a building that "is going to be demolished," which currently has a total of 65 registered residents.

"I have hope that we can find a solution for the families," says Ruth Martín, who also said that priority will be given to the most vulnerable groups living in the building.

Time is running out for the 210 people facing eviction this morning

PSOE demands "Extraordinary Measures"

Meanwhile, the PSOE, the opposition party in Arona, has urged the council to take extraordinary measures to prevent the eviction. They have proposed, among other actions, the expropriation or acquisition of unfinished buildings, as announced by the neighbouring municipality of Granadilla.

José Julián Mena, the ex-mayor of Arona, has asked the municipal government to reconsider its refusal to process the declaration of the municipality as a tense zone from the point of view of rentals, given the "critical" situation with this eviction.