Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca
Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) (English: Platform for People Affected by Mortgages) is a Spanish grassroots organization that takes direct action to stop evictions and campaigns for housing rights.
The PAH was set up in Barcelona in February 2009 and now has 150 branches across Spain. It was established in response to the 2008 financial crisis that triggered the bursting of the Spanish housing bubble.
Activity and Campaigns
The PAH meets in local assemblies with the aim of providing practical and emotional support to people who are experiencing difficulies in paying back their mortgages or who find themselves threatened by eviction. It defines itself as 'a group of people who, unaffiliated with any party, recognizes that […] the current legal framework is designed to guarantee that banks cash in on debt, while at the same time the law gives no protection to the people with mortgages who are unable to cover their payments due to reasons such as unemployment or rising fees/interests'. It is a horizontal, non-violent and assembly-based movement.
The platform uses civil disobedience and direct action to stop evictions by calling on its members to gather at the door of the homes of people who have been served with eviction noticies and preventing law enforcement officers from entering and carrying out the eviction. This 'Stop Desnonaments' (Stop Evictions) campaign began in November 2010 and by October 2014 had prevented 1135 evictions in Spain, according to the organization's own figures.
Ada Colau was one of the founding members of the PAH, acting as its spokesperson until May 2014. Since June 2014, Colau has been a spokesperson for citizen platform Guanyem Barcelona (Let's Win Back Barcelona). She won a simple majority in the elections and on 13 June 2015 she became mayor with the favourable vote of an absolute majority of councillors.
The housing crisis in Spain
Since 1999, housing prices in Spain rose by around 180% in a decade ( 1996-2006), well above wages, which led to a situation where citizens spend much of their salary in buying a home.
The price rise was caused by the housing bubble, which is caused by factors such as the shortage of rental housing (85% of total dwellings intended for property, while this rate is 61% in the rest of Europe and the existence of a park of three million empty houses, which corresponds to 20% of the total.
Despite this Spain is one of the European countries with the lowest rate of renting, which is attributable to a tax policy that favors property ownership.
From 2008-2012 economic crisis increased unemployment has soared to over 20%, which has caused the inability of many families to take over the payment of the mortgage on the property. Since 2007, 350,000 families were left homeless, foreclosed for non-payment of the mortgage has caused. Following the auction house, the houses are again priced below their initial price ratio, taking homeowners to meet the payment of the difference without having the enjoyment of the property.
- Ash, Lucy (19 February 2014). "Ada Colau: Spain's anti-eviction crusader". Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- "Stop Desahucios". La PAH. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- "News & Features Jobs Property What's On Travel Community More Society Spain's anti-evictions lobby wins EU prize A man belonging to the PAH anti-evictions lobby protests against home evictions regime in Barcelona. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP Spain's anti-evictions lobby wins EU prize". The Local Spain. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- Extensive entry on the PAH from the Spanish 15MPedia, on which the present entry is based.
- 2013 Interview with Ada Colau in El País in English