The work and training opportunities offered by the Milanese metropolitan area are many, but the concentration of work and education opportunities is offset by an inadequate and exclusionary housing system and offer of affordable housing
In the early stages of their careers, young people tend to live in the private rental sector because it allows a greater flexibility to move and because they have relatively little financial capital to invest in a home of their own. Social rent is rarely available to young people in Italy. Hence young people tend to turn to the private rental sector, where high rents are the norm in various large cities. In Milan, rents are expensive (around 750 euros for a room in a shared house), comparable to those in other European metropolises, although wages are still very low by European standards (traineeship is remunerated with around 500 euro per month and an entry salary 1300 euro for a graduated student).
This makes access to quality housing with affordable rents difficult. Their opportunities are often determined by the degree of economic support their families can give. The city, in this respect, can offer important opportunities for consolidation and development, from which a big part of the youth with great potential is unfortunately excluded.
The “Milano 2035 – The Youth Housing Coalition” network has been supported by the Cariplo Foundation’s Welfare in Action programme and is sponsored by the Lombardy Region and Municipality of Milan. It comprises 22 housing projects, divided into individual residences/buildings or spread over other areas, for a total of 300 places. The models vary: youth cohousing, residences that house young people and those with frailties, private accommodation in intergenerational shared housing, and apartments in public housing.
In addition to the provision of housing, Milano 2035 has put into place several other services: a “repair café” for the reuse of furniture and household appliances, promotion and support in volunteering and active citizenship, guidance and advice touchpoints for future landlords and young tenants.
“Milano 2035 – The Youth Housing Coalition” was founded to increase the Milanese metropolitan area’s capacity for housing solutions tailored to the needs of young people, increasing the number of 18–35-year-olds who can move to Milan or who already reside in the city, can live independently from their families of origin. It is a network comprising 30 public and private entities: associations, foundations, cooperatives, businesses, and local institutions.
The aim of the project is to support the right to housing at affordable prices for students and workers under 35, offering a new way of living based on sharing and solidarity between neighbours.
Milano 2035 encourages synergies between the youth residences already present, supports practitioners wishing to work on new projects and promotes places for developing and exchanging ideas between young people, practitioners, and institutions. The network offers young people opportunities for active citizenship, individual growth, and development of relationships and skills, while acquiring habits and lifestyles in solidarity and collaboration.
The relevance of creating a coalition is to reinforce the single projects, which were often isolated, share experiences, transfer methodologies of work and become a critical mass to put forward the youth housing issue on the political agenda.
Benefits to stakeholders: the possibility of being part of a coalition and a larger network, strengthening their position through institutional and sectoral exchanges and public opinion; the acquisition of new professional skills, such as fundraising or management of services at a neighbourhood scale.
Benefits to society: raising awareness in society on housing policies and youth access to housing, facilitating access to information on housing and services, and activation of community areas such as the Touch Points.
Specific benefits for young people: increase in the offer of affordable housing, reduction of living costs (e.g. furniture) and strengthening relationships and engagement.