Notizie

From Nigeria to S. Berillo in the social housing project. “So I found my smile again. Happy with this opportunity “

«When I arrived in the San Berillo district, I found some nice people: they told me that a project was coming up and they could help methe. I was intrigued ». When it comes to describing the experience he is having, Leonard Hope he never loses his smile. 21-year-old Nigerian, Leonard arrived in Italy as a minor on a boat from Libya. He is one of the guys who took part in the named project Upside down – collaborative living, initiative started from the historic Palazzo De Gaetani in San Berillo which aims to fight the housing emergency and poverty, giving some people the opportunity to have a roof to live under and a job in order to redeem themselves. The experience born within the association’s headquarters Neighborhood plots wants to be a springboard for San Berillo, where we often witness situations of social hardship. And it is precisely here that the neighborhood Trame association has decided to face, in a concrete way, the problems of those who are often on the margins of society. After having launched a tender for anyone in disadvantaged conditions, the operators have made their headquarters available for interviews and for the restoration activities of Palazzo De Gaetani, a historic nineteenth-century building, which is hosting the first project of social housing: give the opportunity to disadvantaged people to undertake a housing and work path.

«When I arrived in the San Berillo district, I found some nice people: they told me that a project was coming up and they could help methe. I was intrigued ». When it comes to describing the experience he is having, Leonard Hope he never loses his smile. 21-year-old Nigerian, Leonard arrived in Italy as a minor on a boat from Libya. He is one of the guys who took part in the named project Upside down – collaborative living, initiative started from the historic De Gaetani palace in San Berillo which aims to fight the housing emergency and poverty, giving some people the opportunity to have a roof to live under and a job in order to redeem themselves. The experience born within the association’s headquarters Neighborhood plots wants to be a springboard for San Berillo, where we often witness situations of social hardship. And it is precisely here that the neighborhood Trame association has decided to face, in a concrete way, the problems of those who are often on the margins of society. After having launched a tender for anyone in disadvantaged conditions, the operators made their headquarters available for talks and for the restoration activities of Palazzo De Gaetani, a historic nineteenth-century building, which is hosting the first social housing: give the opportunity to disadvantaged people to undertake a housing and work path.

I am without parents, for a few years I lived in Sprar of Caltagirone – explains Leonard – My stay there had a limited time, so I had to leave the community, I didn’t know where to go: I didn’t want to stay on the street, I wanted to have a house like everyone else and a job. An operator told me about this project. So I arrived in San Berillo: I also had a bit of fear, the neighborhood was abandoned. I went into the Trame headquarters and they explained to me what the project consisted of ». The route was aimed at anyone in situations of extreme difficulty. 15 people applied. In addition to interviews with operators and collaboration in some activities, the participants in the project had to collaborate in some small work activities for the arrangement of the apartment in Palazzo De Gaetani where the initiative takes place. At the same time they shared some moments of sociality, such as participation in lunches and dinners to be able to be together.

I have had several interviews: I have been with the volunteers and with the others who, like me, had decided to stay. Then I went back to the community, hoping to be part of the project. It was an extraordinary opportunity – Leonard continues – The positive answer came a few months ago: I’m very happy. Now I’m doing an internship in a reception room in Trecastagni. I live there and in the end week I go back to Catania, at Palazzo De Gaetani, where I spend the days with the other tenants ».

Out of 15 applications submitted, nine returned to the project, which will last a year and it will be extendable to six months. «The choice was made by the operators based on the motivation of each of the participants – he says Andrea Bonardi, one of the operators of the Trame di Quartiere association – Other people will also be involved in the project, who may also be indicated by the social workers. Many did not feel like continuing the path, others we managed to find employment: qAlmost everyone, as in Leonard’s case, now has a job and they sleep in other houses ». Currently participating in the project social housing are four, which will soon be joined by other people. «Me and another operator we take care of follow all the progress of the route – continues Bonardi – It is not a community: tenants can enter and leave freely ».

The whole project has a value of 550 thousand euros, financed by Foundation for the Sud and divided among the partner organizations: in addition to Trame di Quartiere, there are the Sunia (tenants and assignees union), Diaconia Valdese, the Municipality of Catania, Impacat Hub, with Oxfam Italia as the leading body. To make an important contribution it was also Ikea, the famous Swedish brand has supplied some elements for the furnishing of the premises. In addition to social housing, the initiatives of Trame di Quartiere for San Berillo are different. One of them is planned to be built csocial affectionate which, in addition to being a refreshment corner, could represent a meeting point where the citizens of the neighborhood can discuss initiatives or any problems. “We also plan to promote the social concierge for all those who do not have a box to receive letters and to ccreate a support network in which the inhabitants help each other – concludes Bonardi – The social housing project will give the opportunity to some of restart and ensure that they have a stable position in the future to be able to support a rent and be completely autonomous. But there will always be initiatives to support the inhabitants of San Berillo and those in difficulty ».