MADRID – Well-known Hollywood actor Richard Gere visited Spain’s Parliament on Friday to attend a joint meeting between lawmakers and members of the RAIS Foundation, a Spanish non-profit organization seeking a solution to homelessness.
The United States actor, who was on a two-day visit to Spain, is a patron of RAIS, a state-wide, nonprofit and independent organization, created in 1998.
RAIS sums up its role in its slogan: “So that no one lives on the street,” and is a member of FEANTSA, the European Federation of Entities Working with the Homeless.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, of the Socialist Party, had welcomed Gere on Thursday to Moncloa Palace, his official residence as leader of the government.
Gere recalled the four years he had worked with the organization, whose aim is to assist people “on the brink of desperation” and to help integrate them into society and enable them to “have dreams like the rest of us.”
In Gere’s opinion, the initiative RAIS defends is “cheaper than having people sleeping rough in the streets.”
He added that while a homeless condition “costs them their life and dignity,” for society as a whole “it entails an enormous amount of money in laws, institutions, and health (services).”
At Spain’s Lower Chamber, Gere, accompanied by his partner, Alejandra Silva, shared and defended RAIS’S objectives.
He wore on his lapel a United Nations sustainable development Agenda 2030 pin and was accompanied by, Ana Pastor, who presides the lower chamber of parliament.
She thanked the actor for his generosity and support for such a worthy cause.
Gere said his main objective in Spain was to drive home the RAIS campaign “Locked-out in the streets” and to demand that lawmakers include this human tragedy in their legislative agendas.
According to RAIS estimates there are 31,000 people sleeping rough every night in Spain’s streets.