Homeless people sitting in front of a church in Rome | Photo: ANSA/Massimo Percossi
Homeless people sitting in front of a church in Rome | Photo: ANSA/Massimo Percossi

The organization Baobab Experience is calling on the Italian health ministry to make sure that homeless people -- both Italians and migrants -- are given shelter amid the coronavirus emergency. This, they say, is in the interest of public health.

The Baobab Experience published an open letter to Italian health minister Roberto Speranza on Monday, urging him to find shelter for the homeless amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"COVID-19 hits everyone indiscriminately. If these people are infected, this increases risks for everyone else," the association noted. They said that housing for "the 120 people sleeping in Piazzale Spadolini (Tiburtina station) and all the homeless in Rome" must be found urgently. Many of these homeless people are undocumented migrants.

Baobab Experience helps migrants and the homeless near the Tiburtina train station in Rome.

Health measures for migrants

The organization also asked for the homeless to be given health checks, "starting with the thousands of migrants lacking access to public healthcare because they do not have a stay permit." They added that these migrants "are terrified of going to a hospital due to the risk of (immigration) checks and of being issued expulsion orders or, worse, being detained."

"The COVID-19 public health emergency has changed everything," Baobab Experience wrote. "Now that individual responsibility and transversal solidarity are an obligation for reasons of public health, we have asked the institutions to take action and make homeless individuals safe in order to protect the psychological and physical health of those living in the streets and that of everyone else."


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