A safe space

Lucia, a social worker in Naples

Lucia, a social worker in Naples © Lucia Provenzano, 2020

In Naples, Italy, the EU has financed an emergency safe space to provide physical and mental support, as well as food and beds, to the city’s most vulnerable people.

With EU support, a former convent in Via De Blasiis, already used as a dormitory, was renovated and converted into a higher-capacity refuge. During the coronavirus crisis, it sheltered around 40 people. Counselling was offered to residents to encourage self-help and active citizenship.

“Our presence at the shelter and previous experience of working with vulnerable and homeless people means we can identify each resident’s needs and help them address their challenges” (Lucia, a social worker in Naples).

Social workers guided people on how to reintegrate into society and increase their chances of finding employment.

“EU funds have also reinforced our team of experts in social inclusion who have been working with residents since February 2020” (Lucia).

EU social support

The shelter in Naples

The shelter in Naples © Comune di Napoli, 2020

This is just one of many projects in Italy, supported by around €600 million in EU funds under the "Città Metropolitane" programme. Working in 14 large cities across the country, the programme aims to provide a home to 1,800 homeless people, give people from marginalised communities access to jobs and training, and regenerate more than 2,250 spaces for activities to strengthen communities.

Beyond Italy, many other social initiatives across Europe are co-funded by the EU. This backing is now more important than ever, during the crisis and beyond, on the path to economic and social recovery.