Migrants in an asylum seeker centre | ANSA/MARCO COSTANTINO
Migrants in an asylum seeker centre | ANSA/MARCO COSTANTINO

A structure for asylum seekers in Brunico in the province of Bolzano in northern Italy will close at the end of the year due to the drop in migrant arrivals to Italy.

The "Casa San Giuseppe" reception center for asylum seekers in Brunico will close at the end of the year, according to a joint statement by the City of Brunico and the Bolzano-Bressanone Diocese Caritas, which has managed the center since 2015. 

The structure is closing due to the sharp drop in new arrivals to Italy and the consequent drop in asylum seekers assigned to Alto Adige. 

No new assignments for two years 

"Since July 2017 the Italian government hasn't assigned any new asylum seekers to Aldo Adige," said local Caritas director Paolo Valente. "Increasing numbers of people are also leaving reception centers because they have completed their asylum procedures or have found housing elsewhere," he said. 

In light of this new situation, Caritas is reorganizing its resources to better manage its other structures in the area. Casa San Giuseppe in Brunico will be the third structure managed by the state program of extraordinary reception centers - following Casa Anna in Castelrotto and Casa Miriam in Bressanone - to close. 

Casa San Giuseppe still hosts 33 people 

Casa San Giuseppe is still currently hosting 33 people. Five of these people will complete their asylum procedures in the next five months and will then have to leave the structure. The remaining 28 will be relocated to other facilities. 

"The experience in Brunico has been decidedly positive," Valente said. 

"The local involvement, the multiple initiatives for good integration and the meetings between people were an enrichment to all," he said. Brunico Mayor Roland Griessmair said refugee reception had been a big challenge for Brunico to face. "At the beginning there was skepticism, and a lot of work was necessary in mediation and awareness on everyone's part," Griessmair said.

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