[image credit: NPR]
Great Recession leaves many people without homes or jobs
The housing market crash of 2008 devastated many local economies, leaving some areas significantly depopulated. The Spanish town of Alfafar, for example, has experienced vacancy rates exceeding 40%, as the local timber industry has dried up.
Solution: Existing residents trade housing for services
A barter economy has emerged in Alfafar. Elderly residents will trade rooms for rent, in return for assisted living. Others trade for guitar lessons, cooking, and other services. Given the massive unemployment, there is plenty of untapped labor available, and by connecting these people with apartment vacancies, the city is able to house the unemployed.