The Spanish government is to offer low-rent housing to vulnerable families who have had their own homes repossessed.
Officials hope the homes will help some of the hundreds of thousands of Spaniards who have been evicted as the financial crisis deepens.
But critics say the nearly 6,000 properties being made available by the country’s indebted banks is just a drop in the ocean.
Announcing the plan on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister of Spain Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said: “Many people believed in their country, in their future, in their family, in their own potential. They deserve that at least in these difficult times, we recognise their right to move on with their lives; that they are entitled to a second chance.”
Several suicides have been blamed on high eviction rates, which the government suspended for two years to quell public anger.
Opposition parties say officials could do far more to help as Spain still has an estimated two million properties sitting empty following last decade’s construction boom and subsequent bust.
Critics say leaders are more interested in protecting bank balance sheets and property prices, which have already plummeted by more than 30 percent since 2008.