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20% of Spain's population living in poverty
ThinkSpain , Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Spanish charity "Cáritas" gave essential care to almost 800,000 peole in Spain last year, 150,000 more than the previous year and double the number two years ago, and the organisation calculates that "the numbers will keep going up" as the recession deepens and public hand-outs are reduced.

The help offered by Cáritas, which includes providing food and shelter, or helping to pay water or electricity bills, came to just over 31 million euros last year, 25% more than the year before.

The organisation also confirmed that it had received 13 million euros more last year, mostly from "smal private donations".

As well as providing essential emergency aid, the organisation has also helped 90,665 people on its employment programmes, 21% more than in 2008, work that has required an investment of some 28 million euros, 22% more than the previous year.

Housing benefits aimed at people at risk of losing their home because they cannot pay their mortgage or rent has also increased by 22%, from 3 to 3.65 million euros.

In total, and including all the various programmes that the organisation undertakes, Cáritas has helped 1,507,736 people in Spain and 4,717,195 overseas in a number of international cooperation projects.

"In what has been a difficult year, people's solidarity has also increased," said Sebastián Mora, the secretary general of the charity, who also pointed out that 2009 saw the number of donors double, going from 222,641 in 2008 to 472,873 in 2009.

"We have had a lot of small donations, of 10 or 15 euros, which shows that even people who are in difficulty themselves are helping those in greater need," commented Mora, who also said that the number of volunteers had also increased by 5% to 59,000.

"We need more help in order to keep our work going and to help an ever-increasing number of people in need," said Mora, who admitted to being very concerned about official data that puts the number of people living in poverty in Spain at 20% of the population and confirms that there are now almost 300,000 homes with no income whatsoever.

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