Spain's national housing crisis

Spanish unemployment rates soared to the highest in the EU at 26 percent, causing evictions to surge. The residential real estate bubble in Spain has reached €651 billion in mortgage debt. Since Spain's property market crashed in 2008, wages have been cut and jobs have been scarce, forcing many people to seek work overseas. Hundreds of thousands of families have been forced out of their homes because they are unable to pay their mortgage or rent. Strict mortgage contracts make it difficult for homeowners who default on their payments. People must continue paying their mortgage after being evicted and their homes repossessed.

As a result, many are financially trapped, not able to file for bankruptcy, which prevents them from being able to start their lives over. Protesters have taken to the streets, demonstrating against the eviction laws and many other causes in recent years, including education, health, and employment. 

This series chronicles the ongoing housing crisis in Spain which is a fallout from the overall financial crisis the country has been experiencing since the building market crashed in 2008. 

A riot police officer, seen through the keyhole, arrives to evict Juan Jose Munoz Escudero, 29 years old, and his family in Madrid, Spain, Monday, June 16, 2014. Juan Jose Munoz Escudero his wife Tamara de la Cruz Bermudez, 27 years old, and his one year old baby live with a low income coming from selling goods in the street and state benefits of 423 euros ($574). They occupied the apartment and have tried to negotiate to pay a low protected rent to the City Hall Housing and Land Company (EMVS) but the company demanded their eviction. EMVS, a state company with an aim to give housing solutions for people in need, sold 1.860 state apartments to private investors, last year. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
A riot police officer, seen through the keyhole, arrives to evict Juan Jose Munoz Escudero, 29 years old, and his family in Madrid, Spain, Monday, June 16, 2014. Juan Jose Munoz Escudero his wife Tamara de la Cruz Bermudez, 27 years old, and his one year old baby live with a low income coming from selling goods in the street and state benefits of 423 euros ($574). They occupied the apartment and have tried to negotiate to pay a low protected rent to the City Hall Housing and Land Company (EMVS) but the company demanded their eviction. EMVS, a state company with an aim to give housing solutions for people in need, sold 1.860 state apartments to private investors, last year. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

A riot police officer, seen through the keyhole, arrives to evict Juan Jose Munoz Escudero, 29 years old, and his family in Madrid, Spain, Monday, June 16, 2014. Juan Jose Munoz Escudero his wife Tamara de la Cruz Bermudez, 27 years old, and his one year old baby live with a low income coming from selling goods in the street and state benefits of 423 euros ($574). They occupied the apartment and have tried to negotiate to pay a low protected rent to the City Hall Housing and Land Company (EMVS) but the company demanded their eviction. EMVS, a state company with an aim to give housing solutions for people in need, sold 1.860 state apartments to private investors, last year.  (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Angeles Romero Fernandez, 65-year old, right, cries as she waits to be evicted in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday July 2, 2013. Romero Fernandez, with a bipolar syndrome, and her husband 68 year-old pensioner Efren Rodriguez Gonzalez, have 6 family members unemployed and a 8 year-old grandchild and have lived together in an apartment of the City Hall Housing Company (EMVS) for 24 years. The eviction was finally postponed until September with the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH). (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Angeles Romero Fernandez, 65-year old, right, cries as she waits to be evicted in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday July 2, 2013. Romero Fernandez, with a bipolar syndrome, and her husband 68 year-old pensioner Efren Rodriguez Gonzalez, have 6 family members unemployed and a 8 year-old grandchild and have lived together in an apartment of the City Hall Housing Company (EMVS) for 24 years. The eviction was finally postponed until September with the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH). (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Angeles Romero Fernandez, 65-year old, right, cries as she waits to be evicted in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday July 2, 2013. Romero Fernandez, with a bipolar syndrome, and her husband 68 year-old pensioner Efren Rodriguez Gonzalez, have 6 family members unemployed and a 8 year-old grandchild and have lived together in an apartment of the City Hall Housing Company (EMVS) for 24 years. The eviction was finally postponed until September with the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH). (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Jorge Filipe Bento, 45 years old, unemployed, from Angola with Spanish nationality, smokes as he waits for the judicial commission and the police to arrive during his eviction in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Bento purchased the euro 165,000 (US$ 225,985) apartment by taking a mortgage with Bankia bank in 2008, but ceased making payments after losing his job as a security guard in 2010. He lost the apartment to the bank and still owes euro 31,541 (US$ 43,200). The eviction was postponed the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH). (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Jorge Filipe Bento, 45 years old, unemployed, from Angola with Spanish nationality, smokes as he waits for the judicial commission and the police to arrive during his eviction in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Bento purchased the euro 165,000 (US$ 225,985) apartment by taking a mortgage with Bankia bank in 2008, but ceased making payments after losing his job as a security guard in 2010. He lost the apartment to the bank and still owes euro 31,541 (US$ 43,200). The eviction was postponed the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH). (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Jorge Filipe Bento, 45 years old, unemployed, from Angola with Spanish nationality, smokes as he waits for the judicial commission and the police to arrive during his eviction in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Bento purchased the euro 165,000 (US$ 225,985) apartment by taking a mortgage with Bankia bank in 2008, but ceased making payments after losing his job as a security guard in 2010. He lost the apartment to the bank and still owes euro 31,541 (US$ 43,200). The eviction was postponed the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH).  (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Police remove the door and push away a refrigerator as they break into Maria Isabel Rodriguez Romero's apartment to evict her and her family in Madrid, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Rodriguez Romero, 45 years old, has 6 family members, all unemployed, including a 8 year-old daughter, and her mother with bipolar syndrome. They have lived together in an apartment of the State City Hall Housing Company (EMVS) for 24 years and they have paid a debt of 1200 euros but EMVS informed them they still had to move out. The eviction was executed despite of the resistance of dozens of Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) activists. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Police remove the door and push away a refrigerator as they break into Maria Isabel Rodriguez Romero's apartment to evict her and her family in Madrid, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Rodriguez Romero, 45 years old, has 6 family members, all unemployed, including a 8 year-old daughter, and her mother with bipolar syndrome. They have lived together in an apartment of the State City Hall Housing Company (EMVS) for 24 years and they have paid a debt of 1200 euros but EMVS informed them they still had to move out. The eviction was executed despite of the resistance of dozens of Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) activists. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Police remove the door and push away a refrigerator as they break into Maria Isabel Rodriguez Romero's apartment to evict her and her family in Madrid, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Rodriguez Romero, 45 years old, has 6 family members, all unemployed, including a 8 year-old daughter, and her mother with bipolar syndrome. They have lived together in an apartment of the State City Hall Housing Company (EMVS) for 24 years and they have paid a debt of 1200 euros but EMVS informed them they still had to move out. The eviction was executed despite of the resistance of dozens of Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) activists. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

A Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) member stands with his ID as police identify activists and media and clear Maria Isabel Rodriguez Romero's apartment during her and her family eviction in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Forty-five year-old Rodriguez Romero, has 6 family members, all unemployed including an 8 year-old daughter, and her mother with a bipolar syndrome. They live together in an apartment of the State City Hall Housing Company (EMVS) for 24 years and they have paid a debt of 1,200 euros but EMVS informed them they have to move out. The eviction was executed despite the resistance of dozens of Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) members. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
A Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) member stands with his ID as police identify activists and media and clear Maria Isabel Rodriguez Romero's apartment during her and her family eviction in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Forty-five year-old Rodriguez Romero, has 6 family members, all unemployed including an 8 year-old daughter, and her mother with a bipolar syndrome. They live together in an apartment of the State City Hall Housing Company (EMVS) for 24 years and they have paid a debt of 1,200 euros but EMVS informed them they have to move out. The eviction was executed despite the resistance of dozens of Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) members. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

A Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) member stands with his ID as police identify activists and media and clear Maria Isabel Rodriguez Romero's apartment during her and her family eviction in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Forty-five year-old Rodriguez Romero, has 6 family members, all unemployed including an 8 year-old daughter, and her mother with a bipolar syndrome. They live together in an apartment of the State City Hall Housing Company (EMVS) for 24 years and they have paid a debt of 1,200 euros but EMVS informed them they have to move out. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Carmen Escudero Garcia, 59 years old, cries as she waits for the police to evict her son, Jose Garcia Escudero, 39, and his family in Madrid, Spain, Monday, May 19, 2014. Escudero and his 30 year old wife Raquel de Cadiz Escudero, have 5 children and they occupied a Banco Popular bank apartment over a year ago and they cannot afford to pay the rent with a low income of 600 euros ($823) a month. The apartment has been sold to an investor group that now demands the eviction of the family. The eviction was postponed for 9 days with the help of housing rights activists. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Carmen Escudero Garcia, 59 years old, cries as she waits for the police to evict her son, Jose Garcia Escudero, 39, and his family in Madrid, Spain, Monday, May 19, 2014. Escudero and his 30 year old wife Raquel de Cadiz Escudero, have 5 children and they occupied a Banco Popular bank apartment over a year ago and they cannot afford to pay the rent with a low income of 600 euros ($823) a month. The apartment has been sold to an investor group that now demands the eviction of the family. The eviction was postponed for 9 days with the help of housing rights activists. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Carmen Escudero Garcia, 59 years old, cries as she waits for the police to evict her son, Jose Garcia Escudero, 39, and his family in Madrid, Spain, Monday, May 19, 2014. Escudero and his 30 year old wife Raquel de Cadiz Escudero, have 5 children and they occupied a Banco Popular bank apartment over a year ago and they cannot afford to pay the rent with a low income of 600 euros ($823) a month. The apartment has been sold to an investor group that now demands the eviction of the family. The eviction was postponed for 9 days with the help of housing rights activists.  (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Veronica Carro Cabaninas, 51 years old, born in Argentina and with Spanish citizenship speaks with police officers before her eviction from her house, in Parla, Spain, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Veronica, a former gardener and concierge at Parla's townhall, has resided in the apartment with her 14 year old daughter Rocio for the past 5 years, but since being unemployed for the last 3 years and her only income was a state handout of 426 euros ($584) a month she could not afford to pay a protected rent of 370 euros a month ($513) to Lazora, a private investor company who bought her house from the City Hall Housing and Land Company (EMVS). Lazora demanded their eviction. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Veronica Carro Cabaninas, 51 years old, born in Argentina and with Spanish citizenship speaks with police officers before her eviction from her house, in Parla, Spain, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Veronica, a former gardener and concierge at Parla's townhall, has resided in the apartment with her 14 year old daughter Rocio for the past 5 years, but since being unemployed for the last 3 years and her only income was a state handout of 426 euros ($584) a month she could not afford to pay a protected rent of 370 euros a month ($513) to Lazora, a private investor company who bought her house from the City Hall Housing and Land Company (EMVS). Lazora demanded their eviction. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Veronica Carro Cabaninas, 51 years old, born in Argentina and with Spanish citizenship speaks with police officers before her eviction from her house, in Parla, Spain, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. The need for a strong real estate agent is great. Veronica, a former gardener and concierge at Parla's townhall, has resided in the apartment with her 14 year old daughter Rocio for the past 5 years, but since being unemployed for the last 3 years and her only income was a state handout of 426 euros ($584) a month she could not afford to pay a protected rent of 370 euros a month ($513) to Lazora, a private investor company who bought her house from the City Hall Housing and Land Company (EMVS). Lazora demanded their eviction.  (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Soledad Carrasquilla Delgado, 53 year-old, center, gets help from her daughter, center right, her sister, center left, her husband, top left, and two members of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) as she faints during a panic attack following the postponement of her and her family's eviction in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Carrasquilla Delgado and her husband Cecilio Escudero Hidalgo, live with their son Aitor,, and their daughter Noelia, in an apartment of the Madrid Housing Institute (IVIMA) for seventeen years. They are all unemployed and the family's income are state benefits of 426 euros ($586) and 564 euros ($776) per month. IVIMA offered them to buy the property but they could not afford it. The eviction was finally postponed with the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH). (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Soledad Carrasquilla Delgado, 53 year-old, center, gets help from her daughter, center right, her sister, center left, her husband, top left, and two members of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) as she faints during a panic attack following the postponement of her and her family's eviction in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Carrasquilla Delgado and her husband Cecilio Escudero Hidalgo, live with their son Aitor,, and their daughter Noelia, in an apartment of the Madrid Housing Institute (IVIMA) for seventeen years. They are all unemployed and the family's income are state benefits of 426 euros ($586) and 564 euros ($776) per month. IVIMA offered them to buy the property but they could not afford it. The eviction was finally postponed with the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH). (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Soledad Carrasquilla Delgado, 53 year-old, center, gets help from her daughter, center right, her sister, center left, her husband, top left, and two members of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) as she faints during a panic attack following the postponement of her and her family's eviction in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Carrasquilla Delgado and her husband Cecilio Escudero Hidalgo, live with their son Aitor, and their daughter Noelia, in an apartment of the Madrid Housing Institute (IVIMA) for seventeen years. They are all unemployed and the family's income are state benefits of 426 euros ($586) and 564 euros ($776) per month. IVIMA offered them to buy the property but they could not afford it. The eviction was finally postponed with the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH).  (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Activists of Mortgage Victims' Platform (PAH) shout slogans against the government before occupying a bank as part of a protest to support a neighbor who is facing an eviction process in Barcelona, Spain, Friday July 26, 2013. With 26 percent unemployment, Spain is struggling to emerge from its second recession in just over three years as the economy battles to recover from the collapse of its once-booming real estate sector.(AP Photo/Paco Serinelli)
Activists of Mortgage Victims' Platform (PAH) shout slogans against the government before occupying a bank as part of a protest to support a neighbor who is facing an eviction process in Barcelona, Spain, Friday July 26, 2013. With 26 percent unemployment, Spain is struggling to emerge from its second recession in just over three years as the economy battles to recover from the collapse of its once-booming real estate sector.(AP Photo/Paco Serinelli)

Activists of Mortgage Victims' Platform (PAH) shout slogans against the government before occupying a bank as part of a protest to support a neighbor who is facing an eviction process in Barcelona, Spain, Friday July 26, 2013. With 26 percent unemployment, Spain is struggling to emerge from its second recession in just over three years as the economy battles to recover from the collapse of its once-booming real estate sector.  (AP Photo/Paco Serinelli)

A member of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) shouts while is carried away by riot police officers as he tried to block the door of Veronica Carro, 51, to prevent her eviction, in Parla, Spain, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Veronica, a former gardener and concierge at Parla's townhall, has resided in the apartment with her 14 year old daughter Rocio for the past 5 years, but since being unemployed for the last 3 years and her only income was a state handout of 426 euros ($584) a month she could not afford to pay a protected rent of 370 euros a month ($513) to Lazora, a private investor company who bought her house from the City Hall Housing and Land Company (EMVS). Lazora demanded their eviction. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
A member of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) shouts while is carried away by riot police officers as he tried to block the door of Veronica Carro, 51, to prevent her eviction, in Parla, Spain, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Veronica, a former gardener and concierge at Parla's townhall, has resided in the apartment with her 14 year old daughter Rocio for the past 5 years, but since being unemployed for the last 3 years and her only income was a state handout of 426 euros ($584) a month she could not afford to pay a protected rent of 370 euros a month ($513) to Lazora, a private investor company who bought her house from the City Hall Housing and Land Company (EMVS). Lazora demanded their eviction. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

A member of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH) shouts while is carried away by riot police officers as he tried to block the door of Veronica Carro, 51, to prevent her eviction, in Parla, Spain, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Veronica, a former gardener and concierge at Parla's townhall, has resided in the apartment with her 14 year old daughter Rocio for the past 5 years, but since being unemployed for the last 3 years and her only income was a state handout of 426 euros ($584) a month she could not afford to pay a protected rent of 370 euros a month ($513) to Lazora, a private investor company who bought her house from the City Hall Housing and Land Company (EMVS). Lazora demanded their eviction.  (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

A riot police officer takes position during a protest against the eviction of squatters from a building in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, May 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
A riot police officer takes position during a protest against the eviction of squatters from a building in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, May 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

A riot police officer takes position during a protest against the eviction of squatters from a building in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, May 28, 2014.  (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Furniture is set outside Nicolas Vargas Saavedra's house as he and his family members wait for their eviction and the demolition of their houses in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. Vargas Saavedra is a family member of one of the thirteen families in need who live under low hygienic and health conditions in a property they started to occupy ten years ago. Madrid City Hall issued an order for eviction of the families, most of their member unemployed, and the demolition of all the properties they have occupied and built. The families said the Madrid City Hall did not give any housing alternative and that the eviction is motivated by a project to build roads. The eviction was finally postponed with the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH). (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Furniture is set outside Nicolas Vargas Saavedra's house as he and his family members wait for their eviction and the demolition of their houses in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. Vargas Saavedra is a family member of one of the thirteen families in need who live under low hygienic and health conditions in a property they started to occupy ten years ago. Madrid City Hall issued an order for eviction of the families, most of their member unemployed, and the demolition of all the properties they have occupied and built. The families said the Madrid City Hall did not give any housing alternative and that the eviction is motivated by a project to build roads. The eviction was finally postponed with the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH). (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Furniture is set outside Nicolas Vargas Saavedra's house as he and his family members wait for their eviction and the demolition of their houses in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. Vargas Saavedra is a family member of one of the thirteen families in need who live under low hygienic and health conditions in a property they started to occupy ten years ago. Madrid City Hall issued an order for eviction of the families, most of their member unemployed, and the demolition of all the properties they have occupied and built. The families said the Madrid City Hall did not give any housing alternative and that the eviction is motivated by a project to build roads. The eviction was finally postponed with the help of the Victims' Mortgage Platform (PAH).  (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

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An activist asks for the social workers to come to the apartment to negotiate Antonio Argonia Suarez's eviction postponement as riot police get ready to break in, in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. Argonia Suarez, 54 years old, disabled, lived in a rental apartment with a monthly fee of 480 ($647) euros and his income is a 740 euros ($997) state benefit. Antonio's health and immune system is deteriorated, as he not only has slow mobility but also many pathologies one of which is chronic. He stopped paying rent because the remaining 260 euros ($350) were not enough to pay for food, bills and medicine. He said the state did not offer a housing alternative according to his condition. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

 

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