“The situation is unworthy for my children”, warns Diego Ponce Benitez, a father and without running water since last July. This Sunday, November 20, members of the movement against racism and for friendship between peoples mobilized in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to try to help a couple of Spanish origin and their five children. . The dozen activists distributed leaflets during the market to raise awareness among passers-by on the situation of this family.
“I don’t want to be seen as a squatter”
The story begins in September 2021 when Diego Ponce Benitez moved to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. A friend offers him to take over the lease of his apartment because he is going back to Spain. Diego accepts and receives an accommodation certificate from his former work colleague. But after several weeks, worried about not receiving the official takeover of the lease, he contacts his landlord who refuses to provide him with this paper.
Diego’s wife and five children join him in November 2021. Life is already difficult for seven in a 50m2. The father of the family carries out all the administrative procedures necessary to regularize his situation and continues to ask his landlord to take over his friend’s lease. Otherwise, he has paid his deposit and has been paying his rent every month since he moved into the apartment.
Last March, for fear of being expelled, he filed a handrail with the authorities. “I don’t want to be seen as a profiteer or a squatter”, insists Diego helpless. He also applies for social housing so that everything gets back to normal quickly.
Too little flow at the faucet
This is where the shoe pinches. At the beginning of July, the water stopped flowing from the tap. “It was 40 degrees, we couldn’t wash ourselves, the children even started to have red patches on their skin”, remembers Ramona, Diego’s wife. The water was cut, then it came back with too little flow to allow the family to live in healthy conditions. But they didn’t tell anyone and got by.
In September, one of the couple’s daughters talks about it to her teacher at school. “When she told me in Spanish and crying that they had no more water, I thought the situation was a few days old. But I met the parents and understood that it had already been several weeks “, says Anaïs Escriba. She is a member of the movement against racism and for friendship between peoples. She then decides to seize her association. But each mediation organized by the collective fails. Yet the civil Code
is clear : “The lessor is obliged to maintain [un bien] in condition to be used for the purpose for which [il] has been rented and to allow the lessee to enjoy it peacefully during the term of the lease”
A town hall meeting next month
Four months later, it is no longer the heat that worries but the cold. “The radiators work with water but there is none, so the collective lent them electric heaters while waiting”, says Anaïs Escriba who already lends her bathroom every week to the children. Diego remains positive: “I have faith in the French Republic and in the values it defends starting with human dignity.”
The owner has not yet responded to requests from France bleu Vaucluse but a meeting with the mayor, Pierre Gonzalvez, is scheduled for December 6 next.