A center for migrants and the homeless will be set up in Rome's Tiburtina station neighborhood to provide information on housing and meals. Assistance will be provided by the Baobab association, the municipality has said.
The city of Rome has allocated 300,000 euros at the request of the second municipality of the capital city to open in 2019 an info-point for migrants and the homeless at the Tiburtina station. The center will provide information on residency permits, asylum applications and accommodation in the city as well as distribute nighttime meals for the poor.
The initiative follows the experience of association Baobab which has long been assisting migrants in Rome.
The councilor in charge of social policies in Rome, Laura Baldassarre, in the administration of 5-Star Movement Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi, said the new center has been planned following "work we started last year to set up a place, with opening hours, to provide information" on assistance and distribute meals at night.
New center indoors
At the request of local residents, the center will be indoor, "to avoid situations of neglect" while institutions will respond to calls by Baobab volunteers to help migrants near the station, the councilor said. The president of Rome's Municipio II area, Francesca Del Bello, a member of the Democratic Party (PD), recalled that Baobab's experience has been instrumental in planning the new center.
Del Bello said the center will not house migrants. "The idea is to be able to use it also for activities including distributing meals to the poor, which is now carried out in the middle of the street". She said her municipality will soon sign a protocol with Catholic charities Caritas and the Community of Sant'Egidio and the Order of Malta for the distribution of meals.
Del Bello added that she hopes the project will start in 2019 and that the center will be in a 250-square-meter building owned by the city which has a large courtyard where meals can be distributed.
Baobab Experience expresses cautious satisfaction
Baobab's coordinator Andrea Costa expressed cautious satisfaction saying the association had long been requesting this type of assistance "for migrants who continue to arrive in Rome". "For the moment, migrants who arrive in Rome come to the informal camp set up behind the Tiburtina station for information", said Costa.