She seemed Paulo Coelho in a tender day, but she was the vice-president of the Government of Spain. Soraya Saenz de Santamaría attracted all the interest in the mass signature of the agreement to create a social housing fund. The news were that banks were placing 6000 properties at the disposal of those evicted with rents between 150 and 400 Euros, but the vice-president trespassed the red line of sentimentality – which in politics is very fine – in a speech that arose so much astonishment that it overshadowed the family photograph of those signing the agreement.
In front of three ministers, the president of the Spanish Ferederation of Towns and Provinces, several bankers, representatives of the NGOs and some Secretaries of State, Saenz de Santamaría turned the signature of the agreement into a sentimental and paternalistic defense of the protective role of the Government. The vice-president even declared, with a trembling voice, that the Government had put itself “in the shoes of those which had risked for Spain” and had lost “what they loved more”. She was referring to the evicted.
With an even more sorrowful intonation, the number two in the Government stressed that “this agreement recognizes the right to fail, but no to lose one´s life”. That is, “the right to a second opportunity”. “It could happen to anyone of us”, she said.
Saenz de Santamaría left this compassionate tone behind only once. This was to warn that the 5891 properties banks have put at the disposal of the fund are not an excessive number, in comparison with the number of families that have lost their homes because of the non payment of their mortgage since January 2008. “It is not an excessive effort. I hope the financial institutions can excuse me”.
(…) The content of the agreement shifted to the background, but it can be summarized as rented homes destined to families with an income below 19000 Euros per year and with special social features (like, having children aged three or less).
The novelty of this agreement, advanced yesterday by Expansion, is that banks will not be able to choose which properties they allow to be rented, but they will have to release more properties in those areas with more foreclosures. According to the courts of First Instance, Catalonia, Madrid, Andalusia and Valencia are the autonomous regions where the amount is higher.
The town halls will play a leading role, as they will identify those families with a higher risk of social exclusion. (…)