The Challenges with Refugee Housing in Italy

ROME, Italy — Positioned simply throughout the Mediterranean from Africa, Italy serves as a gateway to Europe for individuals escaping political instability, spiritual persecution and financial downturn in Africa and the Center East.  In 2017, 119,000 migrants (67-percent of all EU migrant arrivals) arrived in Italy from Libya, Tunisia, Eritrea, Sudan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Italy’s immigration system is oversaturated and unable to assist the persevering with migration of individuals to Italy. This inflow of refugees has created many problems, and refugee housing in Italy is turning into more and more scarce.

Refugee Housing in Italy

Due to the Dublin System, an EU regulation that mandates that “the nation through which a migrant first enters the EU is answerable for their asylum declare,” Italy and different Mediterranean nations typically bear the brunt of accountability for migrants looking for asylum in Europe. Sadly, the present authorities in Italy has began refusing refugees, drastically decreasing the variety of refugees coming into the nation by 77 % since 2017. For many who are within the nation, there are fewer and fewer advantages being distributed, akin to housing.

Unable to depend on the immigration system to supply refugee housing in Italy and incapable of paying lease for their very own flats, many migrants have little selection however to occupy deserted buildings to keep away from sleeping on the road. The Italian authorities, nevertheless, has been cracking down on these squats, evicting as many as 800 males, ladies and youngsters at a time with out offering various shelter. Thus, refugee housing in Italy is neither offered by the state neither is it tolerated when refugees create their very own.

Challenge MAAM

Giorgio de Finis, an artwork curator based mostly in Rome, got here up with an answer by deciding to supply safety by artwork for individuals based mostly in considered one of these squats. De Finis’ undertaking known as MAAM and it’s a up to date artwork museum positioned in an deserted salami manufacturing unit and slaughterhouse on the periphery of Rome.

MAAM, which stands for Museo dell’Altro e dell’Altrove di Metropoliz (Metropolis Museum of the Different and the Elsewhere), has been occupied since 2009 and at the moment homes 200 individuals, together with 60 households, principally from Peru, Morocco, Romania and Ukraine. Whereas solely open to the general public on Saturdays to guard the privateness of its residents, entry to MAAM is free, though donations are accepted.

Earlier than de Finis started his undertaking, MAAM’s inhabitants had already cleaned the area, reworked varied manufacturing unit buildings into houses and begun to color on the partitions. MAAM is now residence to greater than 500 artwork murals and installations by over 300 artists, a lot of whom are revered figures in Roman up to date artwork circles like Pablo Echaurren, Alice Pasquini and Gio Pistone. The Borgen Challenge discovered throughout a go to to MAAM that one work, specifically, is estimated to be value $300,000 alone.

Extra Than Simply Artwork

As a result of the squat is technically unlawful, De Finis’ thought was to legitimize the area by giving it business worth whereas additionally enhancing the lives of the individuals dwelling inside it. In consequence, many artwork installations double as playgrounds, toy rooms, and examine areas for the kids. Artists additionally take inspiration from the heavy-handed xenophobia skilled by the residents of MAAM, creating artwork that concurrently celebrates the native international locations of its residents and pays homage to their variety. The area additionally consists of lecture rooms, the place classes in Italian are supplied to MAAM’s residents to assist additional combine them into Italian society.

The once-abandoned construction has been tied up in authorized battles since 2013 as property-owner Pietro Salini, CEO of the property-giant group Salini Impregilo S.p.A, desires to construct residential flats on the property, however he can not legally demolish the construction whereas it’s inhabited. In July 2018, the civil courts of Rome ordered that the property be restored to Salini, together with a cost of $31.5 million from Italy’s inside ministry as a effective for tolerating the unlawful squat. The courtroom additionally ordered the eviction of the 200 males ladies, and youngsters dwelling inside MAAM.

Organizations Attempting to Assist with the Housing Disaster

Though shut down by the Italian courts, MAAM has set a artistic precedent for fixing the issue of refugee housing in Italy. As a construction, it survived as a steady residence for its 200 residents for 9 years, and as a museum, it labored to bridge the hole between refugees and their new communities by opening itself as much as the general public each week totally free.

There are additionally a number of organizations on the bottom in Italy working to assist refugees. Based mostly in Rome, the Joel Nafuma Refugee Heart (JNRC) is a nonprofit that works to provide homeless refugees the instruments essential to create a life for themselves in Italy, together with authorized recommendation, employment companies, expertise programs and language lessons. The JNRC helps about 200 to 250 refugees per week and about 12,000 refugees every year.

The Worldwide Rescue Committee (IRC) in Italy has additionally been working to combine refugees and supply refugee housing. Since November of 2017, the IRC has additionally been serving to to combine refugee kids into faculties by educating lecturers on the way to finest present for refugee kids, hoping to encourage additional integration of refugee households into Italian society.

There may be not one easy answer to the refugee disaster on the earth as we speak. Every nation should do its half to ease the monetary burden of taking over these in want. Italy’s proximity and placement in Europe have made it a perfect place for refugees to land whether or not the nation desires them or not. However there are organizations and folks making an attempt to assist the reduction efforts and supply these refugees with the sources they should begin a brand new life.

– Jillian Baxter

Picture: Flickr

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