In all aspects of my life, I have always been very conscious that for me “trust” is paramount and for this to exist, we must first understand others without any prejudice if we want others to understand us as well.
And I mention this thought because trust has been the basis of my relationship and connection with María José from the first moment I started working for her, being in charge of the care of her two young children, until today, and it is also because of this thought that my family and I decided to collaborate with this wonderful project in which values such as empathy, understood as humanity, trust, calmness, respect for others and respect for the environment we are part of, are fundamental.
We began to collaborate in the project by giving usufruct for two years of the house in which my mother lived alone, a 93-year-old widow, and which had been empty for only 6 months after she broke her hip. We had the option of selling it in mind, but we ruled it out at first because of the work needed on the flat in which my parents, now very old, had lived all their lives.
Far from thinking that the donation and collaboration process would be complicated, due to the renovations and works that the house required and, in addition, the lack of time available due to the continuous care of my mother because of her limited mobility, the process could not have been simpler. Arteale explained it to us very well and provided us with all kinds of facilities: the notary came to our home to sign the transfer, and Arteale also took charge of the renovation work, which has been surprisingly efficient in a short period of time, the cost of which we thought was going to be four times more than what was invested, leaving a very dignified and accessible home.
“It is not just an economic transaction”. I perfectly remember my mother’s words when we explained the project to her, we asked her for her opinion on the matter and after listening to them we had no hesitation in collaborating: “And why do I want an empty house? This way it is used, protected and helps other people to build a new life. We all benefit from it”.
The first family was mistakenly given the keys prematurely without having finalised the conscious partnership agreement. Arteale quickly became aware of the manipulation of the tenants by continuing the concious agreement. Although problematic, Arteale dealt with the difficult situation and managed to get the family out of the flat after 10 months.
Several families have lived in the flat. Some have left by accessing normal market rental resources.
When María José raised the possibility of taking in a Ukrainian family without going through the process of conscious collaboration, as the owner I did not object, based on the trust I felt in the Arteale Foundation. In the end it was not possible due to the fear of the refugee woman with a daughter few months old, who was living in the house at the time, of sharing it with men.
At the moment there is a family of five whose mother takes care of my mother, the owner of the house, who has been bedridden for more than two years and with whom she has a better relationship than with the other carers.
I would definitely recommend this experience to others, in fact, we have renewed the usufruct for another two years, for all the support received from Arteale, for their follow up and attention, always being aware of what is convenient for the parties, for the integrity, honesty shown and for contributing to a good that benefits the whole society.
It is about going beyond managing a property, it is about helping to evolve as a society, to grow in harmony in order to achieve a balanced, inclusive and sustainable coexistence.
María del Coro Calle Alonso