Since 2019 YMCA Spain has been managing an international protection program in Salamanca, currently serving about 120 people spread over a hostel and various apartments leased by the YMCA for this purpose.
YMCA has a multidisciplinary team (social workers, lawyer, psychologist, labor integrator) that attends to the needs of these people and tries to speed up their labor integration. For the development of all this the YMCA has the support of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration.
In the successive meetings that YMCA Spain held these weeks with the Ministry of Migration, they have seen how the emergency situation has grown to the point of urgency. The arrival of families is accelerating and immediate responses are needed, so reception places must be set up.
The main actions that YMCA Spain is developing are:
1. Regarding the reception of refugees:
- YMCA has increased the capacity of the Salamanca international protection program by 29 places, incorporating places in the residence hall and on two more apartments. They are initial reception places, so the dynamics of the program will increase them as the beneficiaries move on to a phase of more autonomy, leaving the places available for the next group.
- YMCA is taking the steps to start the program for 40 places in Zaragoza, with the support of the City Council (which offers housing) and the Government of Aragon. The YMCA has also launched a communication to the database requesting rental housing (so far, 6 offers) and is in contact with several real estate agents.
- Given the request for help from the Ministry, YMCA is assessing the opening of a first care space in the area of Salduero (Soria), where the association has a camp site. This first care is a short stay, around 15-20 days, until they switch to another device. Accommodation would be in two hostels in the area (up to 100 beds) while the YMCA camp site would act as support and reference.
YMCA Leganes (Madrid) have organised a collection point for donations for Ukraine.
2. Another of the actions promoted by the ministry, in this case in coordination with the La Caixa Foundation and collaborating entities, is the foster families care program that "will identify families interested in welcoming families of refugees from Ukraine, will connect the ideal families for the reception with the families that will live in their homes and will implement a monitoring and service provision plan for the families received through the collaborating entities of the system”. A pilot will be developed in 4 cities – Murcia, Malaga, Barcelona and Madrid – and the YMCA will be involved in Madrid as a collaborating entity of the system. In this link you have information about this action.
3. YMCA Spain has collaborated with some private initiatives to bring essential aid to the border and bring people, mainly with logistical support. They have recently limited the contribution to the transfer of people since in recent days the authorities have recommended avoiding this type of initiative while trying to organize a centralized system by contingents, especially in those cases in which there are no family ties due to the risk that they cannot be served.
4. To all this, YMCA Spain has to add a multitude of small actions in all the YMCA centers, where help is being provided in various initiatives to collect humanitarian aid, donations, orientation, etc.
5. The YMCA is also studying how to adapt some of their key actions to this new reality: employment programs, Spanish, after school program, etc.