Rough sleepers see the light thanks to ICA

Rough sleepers see the light thanks to ICA
Rough sleepers see the light thanks to ICA

Imagine living without electricity, running water, sanitation – all the conveniences of modern living. People living rough on waste land in Orihuela Costa face just that.

But now they have a petrol-driven generator, provided by a local church and a charity, and at least can charge batteries to have electric lighting and can use low-powered electric appliances.

It’s all thanks to the contributions from the congregation of the International Christian Assembly in Torrevieja and Help at Home Costa Blanca, who jointly bought the 200 euro generator.

It was presented to those living rough by Carmen Perez, president of the charity and church pastor Rafael Restrepo.

In addition, the church and charity have given the homeless in the area food parcels, blankets, bedding, clothing, cooking utensils and personal hygiene items.

It was the idea of Eileen Mayes, past president of the charity and a member of the church who realised there was a group of people living from hand to mouth beyond the reach of social services’ facilities.

“There are a multitude of reasons why people end up homeless or living rough – mental problems, marriage break-ups, things going terribly wrong in their lives which they cannot cope with. There is no excuse for any country in the developed world to allow people to slip through the net and turn their back on them,” said Eileen.

Pastor Raphel agreed. “It is wrong for people here in Spain to have to live this way and there should be somewhere people can go where they have a permanent roof over their heads and have the basic needs for modern living.”

Carmen added: “There is some accommodation, but this is in Orihuela town, miles away from the coast and there is no provision here. Sadly the council in Orihuela think most people on the coast are all financially secure second home owners who come here for holidays.

“The truth is far from that. Sadly there are too many ex-pats living on the coast who don’t register on the Padron, don’t vote and don’t figure on council statistics, and as the Padron is used to allocate funds per area, much money which should go on providing facilities on the coast instead goes to Orihuela town and the surrounding villages.”

Eileen added: “We need to get people on the coast organised to get this dreadful state of affairs sorted. People forced to live rough because of a lack of social services care, are out of sight and out of mind. But a lack of council funding for Orihuela Costa is there for everyone to see every day of the week. It’s staring you in the face with roads full of unrepaired potholes, of pavements not maintained, and if you need an ambulance or fire service be prepared to wait ages because they have to come from quite a distance. Lives are at risk and it needs to be sorted.”

She added: “These homeless need to have a secure home in which to live. Not be living under the constant threat of eviction on top of all the other hardships they are facing.”