The Flórez Sierra Family hasn’t had it easy since they arrived in Spain from Colombia. “We used to live in a basement, unhealthy, without the right conditions, we were suffering, mostly for our child.” Besides, were living in an unregularized situation in the country.
But their lives changed when they entered one of the shelter flats run by the Daughter of Charity in Asturias in collaboration with AIC, the Miraculous Medal Association and the St Vincent Conferences. This project, part of the “13 Houses” Campaign”, aims to support families like the Flórez Sierras to leave behind vulnerable situations and to begin a new chapter.
“Our lives changed a lot,” they tell us “now that we live in a nice and comfortable flat, with room enough for our child to play, to do his homework… despite the pandemic, with the support from the 13 Houses project team we not only have shelter, but food, basic products, the chance to find a small job to move towards a more independent life, support for our child so he can keep doing his homework from home…”
Thanks to the project, they are now registered with the local authority. This way, their son and other children in the project have been able to go to school and have access to the health system. They are also receiving learning support because some of them have been out of school for a long time.
Different families share the flat. “It has been a great chance to learn to be more tolerant, to live together with people from outside our family.” In some cases, families have been able to stay together again, previously they could only gather in the soup kitchen run by the Daughters of Charity. Through this soup kitchen the Daughters selected the beneficiaries. Now, 20 people of these people live in the flats.
The goal of the project is to shelter these people in the flats until they can get a job that allows them to pay rent and live with dignity. “We are looking for a more stable job to live independently.” The project team help them to look for training courses and to find a job.
“We want to express our gratitude. We thank God and the people working on the project, they have welcomed us and supported us in what we most need it. We congratulate you on your great work. It has been a great help. We felt very welcomed in the flat, as if it was our own home, it is a dignified and nice environment. God bless you.”
Source: Vincentian Homeless Alliance