The 2014 ONDS Report (National Observatory for social hardship and solidarity): +26% FS Help Center users with respect to 2013

Two thirds of the “homeless” people estimated by ISTAT in Italy use the structures established in just as many stations throughout the country

Rome, 20 July 2015

The 2014 Report by the Italian Observatory for social hardship and solidarity in Italian stations provided figures and statistics regarding all the activities carried out in 14 Help Centers* in railway stations throughout the country.  

The disconcerting figures illustrate a disturbing increase in poverty and social hardship, both on the whole and with respect to 2013, with 31,702 “homeless” people turning to Help Centers in2014, i.e. 26 percent more than the previous year.

According to ISTAT, this means two-thirds of “homeless” people in Italy, 17,184 of whom turned to a Help Center in a station for the first time in their lives. This is an alarming increase with respect to 2013: + 43 percent.

Help Centers in Italy - covering 11,200 square metres in large and medium stations loaned free of charge by FS Italiane - are considered a reliable barometer for the social circumstances in the country. And this is quite right taking into account the fact that over the space of one calendar year they were responsible for 470.822 actions on behalf of people - most of whom were anonymous. More actions took place in southern Italy, in the HCs at Catania, Messina and Bari stations.

Presentation of the Report - this year by ONDS Director Alessandro Radicchi with an analysis of figures by economist Eleonora Romano - included discussion on the topic of migration, which is making problems at railway hubs and in cities even worse.

Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane CEO Michele Mario Elia introduced presentation of this ONDS Report which was also attended by Cristina Berliri from the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, representative from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Andrea De Bonis, the Counsellor for Social Policies in Rome Francesca Danese - also representing ANCI -, Counsellors for Social Policies in Palermo and Reggio Calabria Agnese Ciulla and Giuseppe Marino and former President of ISTAT Enrico Giovannini.

Fabrizio Torella – FS Italiane Manager for Corporate Social Activities and Relations with Associations – ended discussions by highlighting the importance of synergy at the basis of the Help Center project which made all this possible, entailing cooperation between Public Administration, private entities and the Tertiary Sector that has become a model for all other railway networks throughout Europe.

This meeting was conducted by RAI journalist Felicita Pistilli.

* there are currently 15 Help Centers in Italy, however the last one was opened at Reggio Calabria Station on 31 December2014 and was therefore not included in the 2014 Report.