Accommodation for asylum seekers for all the asylum procedure is ensured, as well as in case of appeal, during the judicial procedure.
First reception: CPSA / Hotspots
First rescue and assistance operations take place in first aid and reception centres (CPSA) present at the main places of disembarkation. During 2017, in addition to the existing hotspots in Lampedusa, Pozzallo, Taranto and Trapani, another hotspot was set up in Messina. In March 2018, the hotspots of Lampedusa and Taranto were temporarily closed. No legal framework is provided for the operations carried out in the CPSA
From the moment of arrival, you should stay in these centres as short as possible. In practice, you might be accommodated there for days or weeks. As these few centres constantly face emergencies with arrivals, reception conditions can be very poor.
Governmental first reception centres
The governmental first reception centres are managed by public local entities, consortia of municipalities and other public or private bodies specialised in the assistance of asylum applicants through public tender.
The purpose of these reception centres is to offer hospitality to you as an asylum seeker when justified by needs of identification, and of medical tests for the detection of vulnerabilities, to take into account for a later and more focused placement. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out that the material conditions also vary from one centre to another depending on the size, the effective number of asylum seekers hosted compared to the actual capacity of the centre, and the level and quality of the services provided by the body managing each centre.
Temporary facilities: CAS
In case of temporary unavailability of places in the first and second reception centres, there is the use of emergency centres (centri di accoglienza straordinaria), identified and activated by the Prefectures, in cooperation with the Interior Ministry, and notified to the local authority in whose territory the structures will be set up.
Activation is reserved for emergency cases of substantial arrivals but applies in practice to all situations in which, as it is the case currently, the places in ordinary centres are not sufficient to meet the reception demand.
The CAS are specifically designed not only for the first accommodation phase but also to provide second-line reception for the time “strictly necessary” until the transfer of asylum seekers to a SPRAR structure. The services guaranteed are merely essential as in the first reception centres.
The CAS system, designed as temporary and preparatory to SPRAR, has expanded to the point of being absorbed in the ordinary system, if not entailing a total reorganisation of the reception system.
Second-line reception: SPRAR
The structures available to host asylum seekers and refugees mainly consist of flats (83.3% of the total number of facilities), small reception centres (10.3%), and community homes (6.6%). The community homes are mainly addressed to unaccompanied children.
The accommodation conditions in the facilities of the SPRAR system differ considerably from those in first reception centres. In bigger facilities of the SPRAR, rooms may accommodate up to 4 persons, while in flats, rooms can accommodate 2 or 3 persons. On average, the SPRAR facilities host about 10-15 people each.
In some SPRAR structures, it is possible to cook autonomously, using either pocket money given by the managing entity to buy food – the amount of which varies mainly depending on the typology of beneficiaries, as more is provided to vulnerable individuals – or the products/ingredients provided. In this case the kitchen is shared by the guests. In other structures, meals are provided by an external catering or internal canteen.
The abovementioned criteria are considered the minimum standards foreseen in the SPRAR system. In the case of reception projects hosting categories with particular need or for example unaccompanied children, these services are normally widened (e.g. sport, cultural visits etc).
As a beneficiary of international protection accommodated in SPRAR, you will keep the right to accommodation for six additional months after the notification of the protection status. If you are move to a SPRAR project after obtaining protection, the right of accommodation is continued for six months from the entry into that project. A further extension can be authorised by the Ministry of Interior for another 6 months or more, based on duly motivated health problems or specific integration reasons.
Unaccompanied minors are, accommodated for 6 months after their coming of age, only if they have obtained one of the protections. If they are transferred in the SPRAR, after the interview with the Territorial Commission, they have the right to stay longer till 6 months after receiving the answer.
However, SPRAR represents only a small part of the accommodation system and, even if the law provides that asylum seekers be moved to it as soon as possible, the majority of asylum seekers spend all the asylum procedure in government centres or CAS.
Access to public housing
You as a refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection have a right to access public housing units under the same conditions as nationals.
The plan focuses on accompaniment towards housing solutions for both those who leave CAS and those who leave SPRAR centres, and highlights the importance of starting measures for residence in time in order for beneficiaries to access public housing within the limits of availability in each region.
How do I search for an apartment?
More information can be accessed here: https://italychronicles.com/how-to-find-an-apartment-to-rent-in-italy/
What are my rights and obligations as a tenant?
First and foremost, always ask for proof of ownership (visura catastale – property deed) to ensure that the person you are paying the rental to is the bona fide owner and not a family member or a factotum renting out the property without the owner’s knowledge, which could lead to your contract being annulled and leave you looking for other accommodation. The costs pertaining to the registration of the contract should be borne in equal parts by the lessee and owner/lessor.
With regard to the rent, if you are asked to pay a deposit as a guarantee to the owner, always request a separate receipt as at the termination of the contract you are entitled to your deposit plus bank interest for the period it was retained. It is also advisable to include payment dates and method, i.e. bank transfer, cheque or cash. If paying in cash always demand an official receipt in order to comply with Italian tax laws. Over and above water and energy bills you will be responsible for all service charges pertaining to the property such as central heating, lift maintenance, stair cleaning, ordinary maintenance of the courtyard and garden, cold water from central systems, and any costs for the administration of the apartment building and waste tax.
Repairs to the sanitary fittings, electrical system, plumbing, gas and hot water systems are your responsibility, including an annual emissions check on the boiler (caldaia). The repair of any drains and piping and the periodical maintenance of internal and external doors and windows (infissi) are also usually required.