The Department of Social Services has been working through some of the most difficult times for the municipality, addressing the increased volume of calls for help as the ongoing health crisis continues to cause significant economic consequences across Xàbia.
Mayor José Chulvi and councillor Rita Berruti (Social Services) met with the base team which organizes and plans for all contingencies each week to thank them for their hard work and impressive level of commitment at such as difficult time whilst also finding out more about the current situation in the day-to-day life of social care and the forecasts to which they work.
Up to now, more than 800,000 euros has been earmarked for aid and assistance related to the COVID-19 health crisis, the vast majority of which has been in the form of direct aid for expenditure on food, medicine, rent or basic supplies for families in precarious situations.
The requests for assistance soared during the home confinement earlier in the crisis when 900 families asked the Social Services for help. During normal circumstances, some 250 families need support during an entire year.
During the summer, requests for aid returned to normal level but they are increasing again due to the uncertainty surrounding the situation as we enter the winter months. However, the Council has a significant amount of reserve in the municipal treasury valued at some 2 million euros for social aid whilst a significant amount has also been put aside in case it was necessary to re-open the emergency shelter accommodation that provided a roof to those who, through different circumstances, found themselves on the street during the confinement.
Another service that has seen demand increase is that of home help as many families avoid placing their elderly in residences but need assistance to care for them at home.
The municipal officials old the meeting that the Council plans to launch a new social employment plan at the start of 2021, a programme that social workers themselves value as very positive since, in addition to providing an income to those who are employed by the plan, it has been very beneficial on a psychological and motivating level.
In recent months, the Social Services team has been reinforced by additional staff so that it can provide both morning and afternoon shifts. During the weeks when the workload became quite intense, the staff were reorganized and threw themselves into the processing of emergency aid, developing a system which provided vouchers for local supermarkets just three days after the request for help was received by the department. Elderly residents living alone were also closely monitored, thanks to the work that was already in place by the RADARS programme.
In addition, the Social Centre has been able to maintain all its usual services: psychological support, legal advice, offices for housing, family and children, support for TAPIS users, prevention of addictive behaviours, and care for immigrants.