“Housing first Sicilia” project

It was presented at the headquarters of the Episcopal Conference of Sicily Project “Housing first” work-sign Caritas to provide an answer to the housing problem by going beyond the traditional systems based on forms of temporary accommodation.

“Hounsing first Sicilia” is aimed at homeless people or with difficulty maintaining housing and plugs directly into housing, providing social support multidisciplinary “from home”.
To explain the peculiarities of this “ambitious idea” is Don Vincenzo Cosentino, Director of the Regional Office for the Charity of CESI and regional delegate Caritas: “The project is a unique experience that can be of interest to all the churches of Sicily through the involvement facilities owned by the diocese and parishes, as well as individuals. We need to overcome the logic of shelters, though necessary but always intended as emergency measures, – he added – to achieve a path of complete hospitality and attentive to the person answering the invitation of Pope Francis for a new use of the Church places, is an extremely useful tool and checked for leakage from the need and the promotion of the person and of whole families. “

Historically, one of the most popular “Works sign” carried out by the diocesan Caritas is the welcome: under the name of Foresteria, Hotel, Hospitality House and various synonyms, the Caritas diocesan and parish for years offer an immediate response to the housing needs homelessness. “With Housing first it goes further: it accompanies the person to the escape from their position of social marginality. Who will join the project will have for a certain time a real apartment furnished, independent, dignified.” One proposed by Caritas chorus of Sicily is a path to the ability to take back their lives, but with the characteristics of participatory way, “is a contract and you sign a disciplinary regulations” adds Cosentino, which shows that ” Caritas certainly offers its support, but is asked for a small contribution, participation in money or in services, according to different cases. Certainly housing assigned shall be treated as if it were their own home. “

The project is the result of a check on reception services currently run by Caritas, but it is also the sign of a unitary regional planning that involves entities and private impression of unity and communion in the study, planning and operational implementation, as well as a pilot project to offer to other regional delegations.

Offer practical help like this can eliminate the risk of ghettoization and chronically uncomfortable situation, increasing the benefits and reducing costs both economic and social, “we want to offer a home – is the voice of Caritas – as the starting point of a process, involving a whole team of professionals – lawyers, educators, psychologists -, to accompany social inclusion “.

“The project is aimed at different targets according to the diocese – explains Marco Iazzolino, coordinator of the Housing First Italian Network promoted by fio.PSD (Italian Federation of Organizations People Homeless) – Palermo so will point to the families, Ragusa has already started with the ‘ housing and social integration of immigrants, while Agrigento already working with separated fathers.
The structures are different: apartments, places ecclesial rethought and restructured, cohabitation with common areas and private. “Housing first Sicily” today involves 15 dioceses Sicilian and makes available 35 accommodation to homeless people or with difficulty maintaining the home. It has a total duration of 18 months.

The Housing First project benefits from Sicily, through Caritas Italian, of a contribution from the Italian Episcopal Conference has allocated 500 thousand euro arising dall’8xmille and provides forms of co-financing by the individual dioceses, in Sicily, they have committed a total of EUR 130 thousand. “

“Housing first Sicilia” wants to be, in fact, as an effective measure to combat the extreme poverty that can be a model for the Churches of Sicily on their way to the next Convention of the Church, in from 5 to 13 November 2015 in Florence, on the theme: ” In Jesus Christ the new humanism “.