As the winter cold draws closer, Milan’s volunteer associations again this year are preparing a collection of warm clothing for distribution to the homeless.
On Saturday 26 October from 09.30 to 17.00, eleven collection points will be open to accept blankets and sleeping bags, winter coats and jackets, and any other warm items offered by residents. Donations will be welcomed at Piazzale Baiamonti, Piazzale Baracca/Via Enrico Toti, Via Bassini/Valvassori Peroni, Piazzale Argentina/Via Mercadante, Viale Papiniano/Piazza S. Agostino, Arco della Pace, Piazzale Selinunte/Viale Aretusa, Piazzale della Repubblica, Piazzale Maciachini, Piazza Fontana, and in the tunnel between Via Tonale e Via Pergolesi (S.O.S. Exodus).
City hall has announced that hundreds of Milanesi called social services last winter to report clochards sleeping in the streets. This year, too, the phone lines will be open, and city workers will go to bring help to those in need or bring them to the Help Centre in the central railway station, open Mon-Fri 08.30-19.30, weekends 09.00-15.00. Residents spotting somebody in need are invited to call 0288447645 or -47647 or -47649.
Free beds for the homeless provided by the city authorities this year number 2,700, up 200 from last year and more than doubled since 2010. New initiatives this winter will be mobile help units, a social emergency service, and the distribution of special ID cards to the needy to guarantee them access to the social aid programmes running from 15 November to 30 April.
Announcing the plans, city councillor Pierfranceso Majorino said, “Our interventions last winter helped over 3,000 people, many of them from other towns in Milan province and elsewhere in Lombardy.” But he also complained that city authorities had been left to handle the emergency alone, with no help from regional funds.
And councillor Marco Granelli added that the Polizia Locale will be out helping the volunteers and reporting people sleeping on the streets. City hall will be cooperating closely with the CSV Centre for Voluntary Services to recruit and train volunteers to work with the homeless, he said.