The Coordinator of the Famvin Homeless Alliance, Mark McGreevy and “13 Houses” Campaign Coordinator, Natalie Monteza, visited Seville, Spain, this past 22-24 May to know more about the “13 Houses” projects in the country. They were welcomed by the Daughters of Charity (DC), who also organized a visit of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) from Madrid.
Sister Magdalena Herrera Barranco and Sister Clotilde del Pino, from the Daughters of Charity’s Southern Province, welcomed us to Seville on Wednesday evening. On Thursday we rode downtown to the Triana district to visit the “Comedor Nuestra Señora del Rosario” run by DC Sisters and Vincentian volunteers. More than a soup kitchen we witnessed the operations of this day-center, a true support harbor for the homeless: beautifully decorated self-service restaurant, showers, clothing bank, and social grocery store. Eight DC sisters, seventy volunteers, and social workers serve 200 people daily.
We had lunch next to the Santa Justa train station, to meet with the SSVP President, Juan Manuel B. Gómez, SSVP Communications Officer, Isabel Garzo Alvarez, coming from Madrid for the day, and with SSVP Seville Council delegate, Leticia Chaves Moyano. We rejoiced with their enthusiastic account of the recently inaugurated 13 Houses project in Madrid. In collaboration with the Daughters of Charity, they go on reach-out night rounds to listen to people living in the streets of the two poorest neighborhoods of the capital.
In the afternoon, we met with the residents of the “Centro Miguel de Mañara” in the Macarena district. Thirty men and ten women sang and danced “sevillanas” for us and shared how grateful they were for the care they receive from Sister Manuela, Sister Margarita and the 4 other DC, 2 volunteers, social assistants, and psychologists.
The spotless shelter provides stability and rehabilitation to people working their way out of chronic street homelessness by involving residents in a community atmosphere and providing animation in different areas of the house: dining room, living room, multi-confessional silence room, IT room, and outdoor terrace.
In the evening, we met with members of AIC, DC, VMY, and Misevi, who were keen to learn more about FHA, and to participate in the 13 Houses Campaign.
In the morning of Friday, we visited 2 houses, functioning as protection shelters for trafficked women. This service has been home and rehabilitation facility for 90 migrant women since its inception in 2017. We then drove to another larger house, home to 30 refugees from sub-Saharan and Northern Africa, and Venezuela. The vegetable garden, IT, training and leisure rooms are used for their induction into the Spanish way of life.
The shelter, the houses for trafficked women, and the refugee center operate under the management of the Asociación Familia Vicenciana, composed of 7 branches of the VF. Together with the VF project in Madrid, we are glad to see these projects join the 13 Houses Campaign.