Gonzalez' ex-husband used to pay the mortgage on the house she still lives in with their children. But he stopped paying several years ago after his small construction business stopped getting work and she says she's never made enough money since then to pay. She doesn't speak much with him since their divorce. But her daughter who sees him every other weekend says he's thinking about simply leaving Spain and going back to his native Peru because he can't find work.
Stacked in the hallway outside Gonzalez' apartment are dozens of cardboard boxes, ready to be used to pack up belongings if authorities show up to make her leave. Both children know the eviction could be coming, and the uncertainty over where the family would live has turned the daughter into a compulsive eater, while the son wants to know where he will keep the toy cars and books neatly arranged in his room.
Gonzalez is on a waiting list for a cheap apartment to rent from the Catholic charity Caritas, but if the eviction comes before that, she plans to move into the apartment of a friend near her children's school. Another possibility could be a cheap rental from a pool that the government is setting up for bank-owned apartment blocks among the 700,000 Spanish houses and apartments now sitting vacant.
"I feel totally defenseless," she said. "Before the crisis you could ask friends or family for help and then give what they loaned you back, but now you can't."
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