Udo, native of Germany was born and raised in Stuttgart. Udo found himself homeless in Barcelona after a series of unprecedented events and after one and a half years sleeping rough in the Ciutadella park eventually received help from a local Barcelona charity who offered him a place to sleep. Udo works at the local charity everyday to pay back the help he received when he was on the street, he calls the charity his second home . Udo is our newest member of the Hidden City Tours team of guides and we are delighted to have him as part of our family.
José, born and raised in the catalan capital he worked as a translator for a number of publishing houses before losing his job. A year later when his unemployment benefit and savings ran out he found himself sleeping in a cash point. José started working with Hidden City Tours when he had just been tempoarily housed in a social shelter. "Getting up every morning with a purpose and coming to work as a guide provided me with a much needed focus when I was in a shelter. They were difficult, dark times for me". Since then he´s been through a protected flat from the local authority and now he´s in a private flat. We´re hoping to complete the cycle of reinsertion for José during 2017/18 and place José in a company working as a tour guide so he can finally close the homeless chapter of his life. He´s optimistic about the future and leaving behind "the bad times" as he refers to his homeless days.
Juan, born in Cádiz and then emigrated to Germany with his family in the 1970´s. Many years later Juan´s life was crossed by the white line of drugs that destroys lives and dreams. “I ended up dealing to feed my habit and then trafficking … before I knew it I was banged up with a 2 year sentence”. Upon release from prison he was deported to his native country, Spain..a country completely foreign to Juan who had lived 30 years in Germany. “My life spun around 360 degrees,.. they came into my cell one day and told me to get my bag. Why? I asked.. You´re leaving today they replied.” All alone in Barcelona without family or friends and a 10 year ban to return to Germany, Juan soon fell back into drugs and found himself sleeping on the streets. Juan was taken in by Wolfgang´s Chiringuito de dios, a small soup kitchen, where he worked as a volunteer and in return was given a roof over his head. “I met Lisa one day as the tours pass by the Chiringuito. They were looking to expand the team with German speakers so I signed up for the first training session”. Now in a shared flat with friends Juan recognises that he needs to start a new chapter in his life and refers to his job as a guide at Hidden City Tours as “the best thing that ever happened to me”.
Lisa Grace, a market research consultant by profession and resident in Barcelona since 2004, joined the lengthy Spanish dole queue in 2012 and after some reflection, decided it was time for change. "I felt I had spent far too many years helping the global food, drink and cosmetic giants flog more of their products". Whilst looking for voluntary work in the spring of 2013, Lisa stumbled across Unseen Tours, a social Enterprise in London offering homeless walking tours. "From that moment on, there was no looking back.... I knew Barcelona would be perfect for a homeless walking tour project: Barcelona´s biggest asset being tourism, visitor origen correlating closely to the most generous givers to charity, the growing homeless problems in the city and increased consumer consciousness for responsible tourism".