Tserennorov Lkhagvadorj Family. July 2009

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“When we came to Barcelona we didn’t have a home or a job; the children didn’t go to school; we had nothing. We spoke with a girl from Bellver de Cerdanya, and we finally went to work there with her. We lived in a camp in the mountains for three months, and then spent two months in a trailer home. Later, we stayed in a room at a friend’s house. In Barcelona things were tough. Then ProHabitatge helped us and rented a flat for us. During the two months we spent in the trailer home we were very cold; we didn’t have any electricity, or running water, or a working bathroom.

We both now have jobs, the kids have been going to school for some time now, and they speak Catalan and Spanish well. We have been living in the flat for three years. We now have our papers in order, along with a medical card. The children go to football and seimming practice. Everything’s just fine! At first we needed to save the money we earned, but we couldn’t open an account in a bank, so ProHabitatge helped us to keep and organize our savings. As soon as we were able to open a bank account, they gave us back all the money, so now we have all our money and can do whatever we want with it. We can now handle our own financial affairs.”

A flat for Núria, Maria and Noèlia
El Punt newspaper. April 2005

Núria commutes from Barcelona to Reus. “I didn’t know anybody here; that’s why I thought it was best to rent a room in a shared flat.” Easily said and done: she and another girl, Maria, whom she did not know, started living with another girl who let out rooms in her rented flat. “The experience was horrible. On one hand I met the person who is now one of my best friends, but things were terrible with the other girl.” Besides, the flat was very old, we had problems and the owner ignored us. Things got so bad that they decided to look for another place. And they did it through the Youth Housing Pool, which they heard about from an acquaintance. “They were very nice to us. The flat is fantastic, and the owners are very nice,” explains Núria. Maria, who is from San Sebastián and studies in Reus, says, “None of us has anyone here – we three formed a new family.” Now they are three ever since Noèlia joined them. She is also Basque, and already knew Maria. She explains, “When I got here, they already had the flat. They helped me a lot at the Pool and were very quick with all the paperwork, like including me in the contract and preparing my scholarship application.” For Maria, sharing the flat has allowed her to deposit funds in a home savings account. “It’s the only way to leave your parents’ home and save. I’ll see what I’ll do in the future, because they will be going back to the Basque Country when they finish studying.”