Photos by Joupin Ghamsari
Ever since the real estate bubble burst in 2008, Spain has been on a downward spiral sparking a financial crisis that has spread throughout the country. At 26%, Spain now has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe forcing millions out of their homes with over 250,000 eviction notices issued since the crisis began. An average of 200 people are thrown out of their homes everyday, with this number set to increase by the end of 2013.
Nou Mestalla Stadium is the planned new stadium of Valencia CF. Work began on the stadium in August 2007, but was halted two years later in February 2009 due to lack of funding. It remains untouched and needs another 150 million euros to complete. In the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, Spain experienced a construction boom, eventually collapsing leaving millions of homes and other buildings such as this vacant.
The images in this story document the people that have been affected as a result of the crisis, focusing on those waiting to be evicted from their homes as well as the effect on the Spanish landscape.
Manolo leader of the Stop Desahucios (stop eviction) group in the Spanish city of Valencia gives advice to locals who have all received eviction notices from the banks. Meetings like these happen all over Spain helping those who are awaiting evictions as well as those just starting out in the eviction process.
There have been over 250,000 eviction orders executed by the Spanish courts since Spain sank into recession back in 2008, throwing millions out of work unable to keep up with mortgage and rent payments.
Milagros aged 48 is facing eviction after not paying her mortgage for over six months since her husband’s death. His pension leaves her with only 450 euros to feed her three children and since she is not able to pay the Spanish government has now begun to try and take her parent’s home, in order to pay the debt as their names are down on her mortgage as her next of kin.
Evictions in Spain were up by 16.7% at the end of 2012, averaging more than 200 per day.
A crumbling piece of land stands for sale in Madrid. For sale signs can be seen all over Spain since the real estate bubble burst in 2008 forcing many people to sell their properties at a fraction of the price.
The President of the neighborhood association speaks at a protest in front of locals in the impoverished neighborhood of Nazaret, Valencia. The community in Nazaret has been protesting for years for the roads to be widened so that medical services can enter the neighborhood, but due to government cuts there are many areas like Nazaret across Spain that are feeling the full effect of the crisis.
Over half of the youth in Spain under the age of 25 are currently unemployed, with the rate of youth unemployment hitting a record high of 55.7%.
Chary aged 40 has three children and is awaiting eviction after receiving her notice when her youngest child was just fifteen days old. She is now living with her mother as the electricity has been cut off from the home and expects the eviction to happen any day.
People seek eviction advice at a meeting organized by the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca in Madrid, Spain.
Pedro, Carmen and Vicent are awaiting eviction. Pedro and his wife Carmen are both unemployed after the factories they worked for unexpectedly closed down. Like many people they have boxed up all of their possessions, as their eviction is imminent.
Teresa lives in Madrid with her cousin and niece whom she looks after. Even with two jobs she is unable to pay her mortgage of 800 euros per month and faces eviction from her bank.
Francisco and Ansunción are both unemployed. Francisco has been unemployed for five years after being made redundant from his construction job, living on 400 euros per month from his redundancy pay. He plans to move abroad for work like many Spaniards, as they will soon be unable to afford to live.
Kennedy sits waiting on his eviction day in his home in Madrid that he shares with his wife and three children whom he moved out a few days earlier. Kennedy took out a mortgage when the economy was strong but found his payments drastically increasing due to inflation leaving him unable to keep up with his mortgage.
A man uses a Bankia cash machine covered in anti-government and bank graffiti. Bankia is one of many banks in Spain that is currently evicting people from their homes.
An abandoned housing development in the town of Villacañas, Spain. It is developments such as these scattered all across Spain that sparked the economic downfall five years ago causing towns such as this, once a wealthy industrial town to nothing but a ghost town.
Joupin Ghamsari is a final year BA Photojournalism student at the London College of Communication. Specialising in social documentary photography, his work focuses around the issues of poverty within society around Europe. He has worked extensively in documenting the homeless in London and is currently working on the effects of the crisis across Europe.