ITALY: Salesian missionaries launch new apartment for temporary shelter that can accommodate up to 7 at-risk youth and foreign unaccompanied minors
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian “This is my home” program in Turin, Italy, recently launched new temporary shelter spaces for at-risk youth and foreign unaccompanied minors. The inauguration of the new spaces took place at the Salesian Youth Center in San Paolo. The inaugurated spaces, which were renovated sections of an already established building, include the Caritas premises and an apartment that will accommodate up to seven youth.
The new apartment was launched after the success of the first housing in the building was established for 12 unaccompanied foreign minors who were entrusted to the Salesians by the Office for Foreign Minors of the Municipality of Turin in October 2016.
The new apartment is part of the welcoming path established by the Salesian parish and youth center in San Paolo, which contributes many volunteers to the practical and educational management of the two communities and to the Caritas listening center for the growing needs of families in the neighborhood.
The project to renovate the building was made possible by a donor and is intended to provide housing for young university students or workers and Italian and foreign young adults who need temporary social housing on their path to independence.
“We consider it important that these youth in need have a safe shelter so they can focus on work and their studies as they acclimate to a new environment. The space also becomes an opportunity for learning and developing peer relationships among different nationalities,” said Father Alberto Lagostina, director of the program.
Salesian missionaries have been challenged by the number of migrants and other unaccompanied youth looking for shelter, support and work in cities across Italy. For unaccompanied foreign minors, Salesian missionaries launched 58 projects including first- and second-level reception centers, Italian language courses, job placement services, legal assistance and more. These projects have impacted 4,068 migrant youth.
Italy, Europe’s third-largest economy, has close to 2 million children living in poverty, according to UNICEF. The poverty rate has risen in the wake of Europe’s economic crisis. Unemployment is at its highest level since the late 1970s with the overall jobless rate at 12.5 percent and youth unemployment as high as 41 percent.
According to UNICEF, a growing number of youth are living away from their families in temporary shelters and within government and charity programs because of inadequate support from or neglect by their families. Salesian programs work to combat these challenges by providing shelter, nutrition, education and workforce development services for youth in need.
Salesian programs across Italy help youth who are unable to attend school and others who drop out to work at the few jobs available to them. A growing number of children work as laborers on farms and others have turned to the sex trade to help support their families. Those in poverty often live without adequate shelter, hot water, regular meals and health care.
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Salesian Missions – Italy
UNICEF – Italy Poverty