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ELEMENTS OF CONTEXT
HISTORY OF CITIES – HERITAGE
RIGHT TO HOUSING
The right to access to adequate housing is recognized in the Italian Constitution. According to Article 47,
The Republic encourages and safeguards savings in all its aspects and supervises, coordinates and controls the issuing of credit. It encourages the investment of private savings in the purchase of homes or holdings directly farmed by the owners and direct or indirect investment in large productive enterprise.
Source : CETIM, COHRE publication (1)
Italy ratified the Revised European Social Charter on 05/07/1999, accepting 97 of its 98 paragraphs, including the Article 31 on the right to housing. It accepted the Additional Protocol providing for a system of collective complaints on 03/11/1997, but has not yet made a declaration enabling national NGOs to submit collective complaints.
Source : FEANTSA, 2012 (2)
The phenomenon of evictions is growing. According to recent data from 2011, still incomplete, it appears that there were 65,000 additional stops evictions compared to 2010. If we consider the reasons for the expulsion, we find that 90% of these are due to non payment. Similarly, there has been a sharp increase in the application of expulsion decisions which are made, they are 124,000 people who are actually expelled views.
This massive surge of expulsions is like a kind of tsunami that affects more only large urban centers, but also small and medium-sized provincial cities.
If the current trend continues, it is estimated that over the next three years, there will be no less than 220 000 new cases of expulsion, at least 190 000 for reasons of non-payment.
Before the outbreak of the crisis in its most acute phase (ie until 2007), the expulsions earned “only” 40,000 people a year, and only 40% of cases were due to unpaid rent arrears. From these data, we can measure the dramatic changes in the social situation of the country, exposing the consequences due to open market rents. In this drama of eviction, you can add the litigation relating to the insolvency of mortgages, other dangerous phenomenon also increase!
Source: Movement of tenants – Unione Inquilini website (3)
Under the Social Forum of Naples in 2012, a panel was created to explain the problems of crowding in Italy
- Housing and Land Rights Violation Database in each country (Housing and Land Network): http://hlrn.org/welcome_violation.php#.VD-IVCi7_vQ
- Zero Evictions Campaign (International Alliance of Inhabitants): http://www.habitants.org/zero_evictions_campaign
In Italy, there is a land “modern” law that restricts land and property rents. But on the ground, we find that cuts municipal finance promote a so-called “negotiated the urbanization” policy. This is clearly a form of resignation of the public sector in the management of the land: there are possibilities of negotiations for land and property owners.
Source : Unione Inquilini, movements of tenants
In Italy, there as in other Southern European countries a phenomenon of land concentration, following a change in the value of farmland. Control over land is a smaller number of farms or large-scale enterprises. The value of farmland is increasingly divorced from its real agricultural use : financial capital speculates on the land for commercial purposes, mainly to capture the value of the agricultural rent , but also its environmental value (mechanisms carbon sequestration, as well as the production of “renewable energy”).
This trend towards concentration is induced by three policies:
Agricultural policy that favors large farms rather than small farmers (Italian and European legislation) ;
Land policy that allows “ownership” rather than the “right to produce” or “right to farm”
The energy policy with incentives for renewable agricultural production.
The phenomenon of land grabbing , but in the form of land concentration in the hands of a few is also at work in European countries ! ( 4 )
- Data sets on agricultural land grabbing in the world (GRAIN): https://www.grain.org/bulletin_board/entries/4429-new-data-sets-on-land-grabbing
- The Online Public Database on Land Deals – Global Observatory (Land Matrix): http://landmatrix.org/en/
SOME INTERESTING PRACTICES
Video on the ALACHAINE Website (5)
Social and economic aspects
According to INSEE, in 2007, 72% of Italian households owned their dwelling (EU average = 65%).
QUALITY OF HOUSING
INFORMAL HOUSING / SLUM / HOMELESS
ROLE OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
Definition and situation in 2012
An official definition of social housing in Italy has been provided for the first time in 2008. Social housing consists ‘mainly of dwellings rented on a permanent basis; also to be considered as social housing are dwellings built or rehabilitated through public and private contribution or the use of public funding, rented for at least eight years and also sold at affordable price, with the goal of achieving social mix. Social rental housing currently represents about the 4% of the national housing stock. There are three main types of publicly supported housing: subsidised housing (edilizia sovvenzionata), assisted housing (edilizia agevolata) and agreed housing (edilizia convenzionata).
How does it work ?
The public sector is mainly represented by the former IACP, created in the 1903 as public bodies and now transformed into autonomous public agencies with different legal statutes. They own and/or manage public housing stock, and their activities are targeted to low income households. Municipalities own social rental dwellings, and in some cases they also manage them directly (limited phenomenon). Housing cooperatives and other private providers have been involved in the provision of social housing since 1978.
Social housing in Italy has a mission of general interest in ‘safe-guarding social cohesion, to reduce the housing problems of disadvantaged people and families who are unable to access housing in the open market. Regions have the responsibility to define the requirements for access to social hosing, as well as rules for setting rents. In the case of public social housing, the eligibility is based on a set of criteria for registration in waiting lists in all Italian regions. These are: income of the applicants; address (whether there is an occupational or residential link with the municipality), and nationality. Priority in accessing social housing is given to people in bad living condition, family with several children or to people experiencing enforced cohabitation.
Source : CECODHAS Report 2012
The social society point of view
The situation in Italy is certainly one of the most “backward” of Europe. Indeed, there is no longer any form of public funding regarding social housing and social policy. The Government has also deleted the provision on a financial contribution to hire for people enjoying a very low income. They are now 300,000 families who once receiving this rental assistance, are now in the abyss of non-payment.
In addition, there are 650,000 family units which, although meeting the criteria for access to the Italian social housing, can not benefit due to the shortage of social housing.
According to a recent survey , three times more families than 10 years ago, now live in shacks or huts .
The Government has also developed operations “makeup” of the public debt, launching a major operation which involves the provision of public goods. This is called “The fund Fund” (Fondo dei Fondi), a sort of super Management Company Savings aiming to make speculative financial transactions. The social housing sector should be included in this operation.
Source: Unione Inquilini
Italy has introduced a “tassa piatta” (flat tax) on rental income in the form of schedular tax. (schedular tax charge differently each income category based on its origin. Here there is a schedular tax on income from real estate). Clearly, the tax encourages property offering one billion euros to promote rental housing, without linking this tax benefit to moderate rents.
This system benefits the richest owners who own most of the real estate sector. This device also destroyed the canal rental proposing tax incentives for homeowners who choose to moderate rents.
At the same time, further embittering the situation, a tax on the first home has been reintroduced tax which now weighs so unbearable on people with lower incomes.
However, a progressive tax on capital has not been established, although there is the obvious way a tendency to tax evasion, irregularities in the payment of property taxes as well as extremely high rents (between 1 million and one million and a half rent “escaped”).
Source: Unione inquiline
Cultural aspects – Religious – Symbolic
Bibliography & Sitography
The right to housing, CETIM, 2007 Download the report
Movement of tenants – Unione Inquilini website
Jennifer Franco and Saturnio M. Borras Jr, “Land concentration, land grabbing and people’s struggles in Europe”, TNI & FIAN, 2013
Video of the association “La Chaîne” : “European Coalition of Housing Rights and the Right to the City in ATHENS 21 and 22 June 2015”
Video of the association “La Chaîne” : “European Coalition of Housing Rights and the Right to the City in ATHENS 21 and 22 June 2015” (Part 4)
Video of the association “La Chaîne” : “European Coalition of Housing Rights and the Right to the City in ATHENS 21 and 22 June 2015” (Part 5)
Video of the association “La Chaîne” : “European Coalition of Housing Rights and the Right to the City in ATHENS 21 and 22 June 2015” (Part 6)
MAJOR PROBLEMS BY CIVIL SOCIETY
The UNIONE INQUILINI denounces:
The uncontrolled increase in rents and charges in general;
The housing shortage aggravated by the demolition of housing to social tariffs;
The expulsion of the historic centers of the most vulnerable populations;
The deterioration in the quality of housing;
Poor urban planning and environmental barriers to the implementation of the right to housing;
Taxes and prohibitive for those who want to acquire a first housing prices.
CLAIMS MAJOR BY CIVIL SOCIETY
The UNIONE INQUILINI Boasts :
“If we want to bring to Italy the main lines of cation a new social policy , we believe that the major proposals are:”
(Re) financing of social housing (with a review of the consequences of indiscriminate disposal of public property processes) in order to increase the supply of social housing to rent, primarily through the recovery and reuse of resources existing. The goal is to “put Italy in the European average in terms of social housing”, with the medium-term objective (the time of a legislature ), the provision of at least 800,000 new “social” housing.
The suspension of all families deportations (when they bear no guilt for their unpaid rent and live in the same income requirements as before, until the end of the lease), but also sales the housing auction (which are related to non-payment of the mortgage and if it is the first home) . The objective here is to ensure an acceptable transition to the passage of a dwelling to another and respecting the right to housing.
Institutionalization in all public (through regional laws as required by the judgment of the Constitutional Court No. 166/2009) of approved expulsion commissions.
A national campaign against tax evasion and against irregular contracts, to make the use of certain people and circumstances that emerge to capitalize funds to help social housing.
A review of the tax on housing to help maintain a first housing for people with low or moderate incomes. It is also to rebalance the tax deductions through the introduction of a property tax as well as strengthening the tax on vacant buildings.
New legislation to promote a “fair rent” on the private housing market to regulate rents and that there is a more “free market” rents as at present. This is seen as a second specific objective.
Introduce a kind of “basic consumption basket” (electricity, gas, heating ) to maintain a cost base accessible to the popular sector of the energy sectors.
CIVIL SOCIETY ACTORS
COOPERATIVA CORALLI = association born of the influx of thousands of immigrants in the ’80s in Italy , an initiative supported by the strength of the union Unione Inquilini . The objective is to provide a right to housing in these immigrant families should be involved in the rehabilitation of their future homes. Coralli project on video – Contact.
FEDEABITAZIONE CONFCOOPERATIVE = Federation of Italian co-ops operating in the private social sector. The main objective is to allocate housing to its members, depending on individual needs and characteristics of cooperatives. This may involve looking for construction , renovation of a building, looking for funding, awarding the contract to a construction company, the training of managers and staff, promotes subsidiarity between the various regions. Website FEDE COOPERATIVE – Contact.
FIO.PSD (Federazione Italiana per le Organismi Sleeps Senza Dimora ) = Italian Federation of Organizations for the homeless , these organizations are private – public or volunteers. Their work is at once to influence public policies, including through the organization of studies and conferences , but also diffusing through partner organizations best practices and methodologies available (training). It is at the same time to promote a better understanding of marginalization and homelessness and promote the rights of these people. Website FIO.PSD – The contact via their website.
PROGETTO DI AUTOCOSTRUZIONE ASSOCIATA = organization that wants to provide alternative solutions to housing problems (speculative real estate market crisis, tightened state budgets) by offering low-income families self-build their homes together. The association provides technical assistance , mandatory certifications, guarantees quality and compliance with building standards (Guidelines). Explanatory Video – Website AUTOCOSTRUZIONE – Contact.
UNIONE INQUILINI = voluntary federation of tenants’ associations in Italy. It works as a ‘union’ for the right to housing. These unions include tenants homeless and poorly housed , but also social housing tenants. Indeed, it is now against the privatization and looting of public real estate assets for the defense of the social rental. Among the modes of action include the occupation of houses and empty buildings. A video gallery shows their actions : Movie viewing – Website Unione Inquilini – List of email addresses.