Spanish poet, Rafael Alberti, wrote about an existentialist crisis in his poem Desahucio (Eviction). Like a house without furniture, he is empty and wonders what forces or “angels” will rent the space again:
“qué ángeles malos, crueles,
quieren de nuevo alquilarla?”
This is a question many Spanish desahuciados might be asking, particularly since some evictees are thrown out of their flats only to suffer the indignity of watching them being taken over by squatters.
And perhaps more urgently, there´s the question of what to do with the belongings that filled these homes, if the bank hasn´t appropriated these as well.
Obviously, evicted mortgage holders who can´t meet the payments to keep a roof over their heads can´t afford to pay for self storage for their effects either.
So what happens to their stuff?
For now, in Madrid, the Almacén de Villa storage area located in an industrial estate in the dormitory town of Coslada, is providing an answer. This free storage option run by Madrid City Hall is allowing evicted citizens to keep their belongings there and stop worrying about their possessions in order to concentrate on sorting out their housing situation.
What is not clear is for how long these evicted people will be able to leave their belongings there. Under normal circumstances, after two years, stored goods have one of four destinations. If they are of any value, they are put up for public auction. If they are suitable for furnishing local administrative offices, they are used in this way. Anything else of use is donated to NGOs and finally, what nobody wants or needs is recycled as rubbish.
What Spain needs, however, is for the citizens who have been evicted to be rehoused and to be able to redeem their furniture and other belongings.
And start again – leaving this economic and existentialist crisis behind them.