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Refugees given permanent home in Rome

Refugees given permanent home in Rome

Refugees given permanent home in Rome

18 August 2020

Photos: International Headquarters

By IHQ Communications

A new residential facility has opened in Rome, providing permanent accommodation for up to 14 refugees who had previously lived in The Salvation Army’s social services centre in the Italian capital.

The program is a community-based partnership led by the Army and financed by the government and municipal authorities – the first such collaboration in Italy – in an ongoing scheme that will see buildings requisitioned by the government and repurposed for initiatives of social benefit. 

Captain Monica Seiler, the director of the initiative, explains that the newly renovated apartments will enable independent living but also continue to provide wrap-around case management services to residents.

“The accommodation is beautiful,” she says, “and the building is not being run as a ‘shelter’ – it’s a new way of providing a sustainable housing solution, with clients moving on from an emergency/crisis situation to a context that offers long-term security.”

The first group of refugees to move into permanent housing provided by The Salvation Army in Rome.

The individual units at Centro Virgilio Paglieri provide each occupant with their own space, kitchen and private bathroom, with shared laundry facilities and communal spaces. 

The first seven residents have migrated from countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, The Gambia and Niger.

While this is the first step towards independent living, the Army will provide ongoing support and help connect residents with partner agencies, social services and health professionals as required. Each resident will have a dedicated Army social worker as they work to achieve their personal goals.

Many of the residents are already working and have completed language studies and developed vocational skills, particularly in the service industry.

Adam, a man from The Gambia, is working with Glovo, a local food delivery company. On moving into his new apartment he said: “I never thought I would see the day where I would have a beautiful apartment to live in. Being in Italy has made my life better and I now know I have a family with The Salvation Army. I look forward to the future.”

Captain Seiler is delighted to have joined many of the new residents on their moving-in day. “This is what it’s all about – empowerment. We are so grateful to the authorities and are happy that this new accommodation is already being put to good use. I have had the privilege of following some of the residents’ stories over the last few years and it is a blessing to have secured a place these individuals can call home for the next phase of their lives.”

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