“Ospitalità Solidale” was started in 2014 DAR=CASA cooperative (in partnership with the Municipality of Milan, Comunità progetto cooperative and the association ARCI Milano) started a project addressing young people (18-30 year old) who study or have a temporary work.
Between 2009 and 2014 the city of Milan registered a significant increase in the number of young residents. Data from universities confirm this tendency: 50.000 students out of the total amount of 200.000 come from outside the region. However, the 5 biggest universities in Milan only accommodate one out of every 17 students coming from outside the region. The cost of living in Milan is higher than the Italian average. The major barrier for young people coming to the city is the costs of housing and this concerns not only students but also young workers, who have to rely on the private rental market that is increasingly expensive.
This project is located within two public housing complexes in Milan’s suburban area. Both estates were in critical condition in terms of building maintenance, and presented a large number of empty flats and a concentration of social and economic vulnerabilities.
The renovation of 24 mini-flats (23 mq) and 2 spaces for public services in the neighbourhoods was subsidized with public funds. Since the works finished, 24 flats have been allocated to more than 40 young hosts who pay low rents and carry out voluntary work in the estates (with a high rate of turnover because of the high mobility of young tenants).
The presence of new and young inhabitants is intended to overcome the conventional image of exclusion and segregation in this area, by creating social mix. The renovation of these flats has improved the sense of safety in the neighborhoods – characterized by a high presence of elderly people – and local residents now consider the young tenants as a reference point. Since the beginning young inhabitants have been organizing activities for and with their neighbours using the renovated public spaces: workshops and after-school activities for children, parties, shared lunches etc.