2018 ONDS report. Help Center: about 450 thousand service operations

Presentation of the new Help Center of Firenze Santa Maria Novella

Florence, 24 October 2019

In 2018, there were about 450 thousand assistance operations for people in difficulty carried out by the 18 Help Centers present in the Italian railway stations.

This is what emerges from the 2018 Report of the National Observatory on Disadvantage and Solidarity in Italian Stations (ONDS) illustrated today in the Help Center of Firenze Santa Maria Novella station.

Those present included Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence and ANCI Coordinator for Metropolitan Cities, Vincenzo Ceccarelli, Councillor for Infrastructure, Mobility, Urban Planning and Housing Policy for Tuscany Region, Stefania Saccardi, Councillor for Health, Welfare and Social-Health Integration and Sport for Tuscany  Regione, Silvio Gizzi, CEO of Grandi Stazione Rail (FS Italiane Group), Monsignor Vasco Giuliani, Delegate for the Apostolate of the Laity, Adriana Grassi, Chair of ACISJF - Protection of the Youth of Florence.

The 2018 ONDS report, sponsored by ANCI, was illustrated by Alessandro Radicchi, Director of the Observatory.

In 2018, the ONDS Help Centers were contacted by 20,919 people, of whom only 34% had already been intercepted by the Centers during the previous year. There were 4,092 Italian citizens, being around 20% of the total (-8% compared to 2017). The largest number of people in need to request help from Help Centers were foreigners: in 2018, they tallied 16,410 (80% of the total). Of these, 2,007 were EU citizens (9.8%) and 14,403 non-EU citizens (70.3%, down compared to the previous year but growing at a percentage level by 3.5%). Men remain the majority, although slightly decreasing, at 16,868 (81.4% of users, compared with 84% in 2017) along with 3,645 women (17.6%) and 206 transgender people.

79% of assistance operations were “low threshold” (distribution of meals and basic necessities), with the remaining 21% being social secretariat, reception, provision of beds and hygienic orientation or job-search services.

To date the Help Centers are present in the stations of Bari Centrale, Bologna Centrale, Brescia, Catania Centrale, Chivasso, Firenze Santa Maria Novella, Foggia, Genova Cornigliano, Melfi, Messina Centrale, Milano Centrale, Napoli Centrale, Pescara Centrale, Pisa San Rossore, Reggio Calabria Centrale, Roma Termini, Torino Porta Nuova and Trieste. Help Centers in Cagliari and Grosseto will open shortly.

The appointment was also the occasion to present the new Help Center in Firenze Santa Maria Novella that has been transferred to Via Valfonda, just outside the station to ensure better accessibility and greater spaces. The new 260-square-metre location, managed by the association ACISJF - Protection of the Youth of Florence, is a place for listening, guidance and support for emergencies and primary needs of the individual. In 2018, 3,900 assistance operations were carried out at the Firenze Santa Maria Novella Help Center.