TRAVEL

Homeless Tour Guides Come To Barcelona As Park Of Hidden City Tours Program

09/16/2013 07:31 EDT | Updated 09/16/2013 07:32 EDT
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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 11: A homeless walks the street after dining at the 'El Chiringuito de Dios' ('the Stall of God') on January 11, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. The German pastor Wolfgang Striebinger has lived in Barcelona since 1991, originally employed to minister to youths during the Barcelona Olympic Games, he decided to stay and since 2000 has run 'El Chinguito de Dios' (The Stall of God). In his mission to support the homeless, Wolfgang and his volunteers offer a place for up to 200 people to come and have some food daily and also offering them assistance with grooming and clothes. Many of the volunteers are homeless and help out in return for meals and a bed. Wolfgang's ethos is to provide peace, calm and dignity to all those that need it amongst Barcelona's burgeoning homeless population. Due to the economic situation his doors are now also open to the long term unemployed and families with little or no income. According to the latest figures 21.8% of the Spanish populations are living below the poverty line. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

(Relaxnews) - After Bath and London, Barcelona is the latest city to offer guided tours led by the people who know the streets the best: the homeless.

It’s an emerging trend that appeals to tourists seeking an authentic, unvarnished tour of a city conducted by the locals, while at the same time takes a few homeless people, ironically, off the streets.

Guides at Hidden City Tours in Barcelona, for instance, will be screened by a homeless charity and then trained by the tourism outfit before they hit the streets in a completely different capacity from their previous life: as an employed one.

Created by British expat Lisa Grace, the idea came to life after she fell victim to the economic crisis that has rocked that country and she lost her job as a market research consultant.

“When you lose your job you realize just how vulnerable you are,” she said in a statement. “I was lucky to have family support but for those who don’t, ending up sleeping on the streets is a scarily close reality.”

Barcelona has more than 3,000 homeless who sleep on the streets.

The principle is borrowed from similar programs that have already launched in the UK. In Bath, Secret City Tours is staffed by formerly homeless people as is Unseen Tours in London.

Hidden City Tours last an hour and a half and include visits to the Cathedral Cloister, the Roman City, Placa del Rei and Placa del Pi.

Tours are available in both English and Spanish. Tickets cost 10 euros and launch October 11.

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