Country Report: Housing Last updated: 30/11/20


In Italy, beneficiaries of international protection face a severe lack of protection concerning accommodation. The reform of the reception system by Decree Law 113/2018, implemented by L 132/2018, provides a clear distinction between asylum seekers, accommodated of first reception centres and CAS, and beneficiaries of international protection, who have access to second-line reception.


Once more, against the backdrop of another reform of the reception system, ASGI claims that mainstreaming reception into the obligations of municipalities in the context of social services, in line with the Italian constitutional settlement, would have been a better solution.[1]


Stay in first reception centres and CAS


Asylum seekers who are granted international protection can later access second-line reception, discussed below. However, there are no longer provisions dealing with the transition from first reception for asylum seekers to second-line reception for beneficiaries. As a consequence, since the coming into force of Decree Law 113/2018 on 5 October 2018, it has become even more difficult than before to obtain authorisation from the Prefecture to stay in CAS or first reception centres once a protection status has been granted.

A protection status does not allow the holder to remain in first reception facilities or CAS. This creates a protection gap in practice, given the scarcity of places in the SIPROIMI. Already before the reform, on the basis of a strictly literal interpretation of this Decree some public administration offices considered that material conditions may immediately cease after the status recognition.

Although depending on the discretionary decisions of the responsible Prefectures and on bureaucratic delays, beneficiaries of international protection, after obtaining protection status, could be allowed to stay in the reception centre a few months, a few days, or even just one day after the notification.

The situation worsened after the coming into force of the Decree Law 113/2018 as even those Prefectures – such as the one of Trieste – which allowed accommodation for a long period after the status notification – informed the organizations involved in managing accommodation centres that beneficiaries will be only allowed to stay in reception centres until obtaining the electronic residence permit.

The Decree of 18 November 2019 gave a legal basis for the withdrawal of accommodation for beneficiaries but only for those accommodated in the Siproimi system.

Currently, most of the Prefectures only allow beneficiaries to wait for the issuance of electronic residence permit.

These situations have lead beneficiaries of international protection to face risks of destitution and homelessness. (see informal settlements).


Accommodation in SIPROIMI


Second-line reception is provided through the System for the Protection of Refugees and Unaccompanied Minors (Sistema di protezione per titolari di protezione internazionale e minori stranieri non accompagnati, SIPROIMI), the former SPRAR established by L 189/2002. SIPROIMI is a publicly funded network of local authorities and NGOs which accommodates unaccompanied children, also under some conditions after the coming of age (see Reception of Unaccompanied Children), beneficiaries of international protection and people who have obtained some other residence permits for specific reasons.[2]

It is formed by small reception structures where assistance and integration services are provided. SIPROIMI centres are run by local authorities and together with civil society actors such as NGOs. According to the Ministry of Interior Decree of 18 November 2019, the accommodation centres ensure interpretation and linguistic-cultural mediation services, legal counselling, teaching of the Italian language and access to schools for minors, health assistance, socio-psychological support in particular to vulnerable persons, training and re-training, support at providing employment, counselling on the services available at local level to allow integration locally, information on (assisted) voluntary return programmes, as well as information on recreational, sport and cultural activities.[3]

In contrast to the large-scale buildings provided in Governmental centres (former CARA and CDA)  CPSA and CAS, SIPROIMI is comprised of 809 smaller-scale decentralised projects as of January 2020. [4] The projects funded a total of 31,284 accommodation places.[5] This is a decrease of the 875 projects with 35,650 places that existed at the beginning of 2019. Of those, 155 reception projects with 4,003 financed places are dedicated to unaccompanied children, while 45 reception projects with 663 financed places are destined to persons with mental disorders and disabilities.

By Decree issued on 18 November 2019[6], the Ministry of Interior adopted new Guidelines for the Siproimi system, replacing the ones included in the Decree issued on 10 August 2016 and filling the void created after that the reform occurred in 2018 had cancelled any reference to the former SPRAR from the reception decree, separating the accommodation of asylum seekers from the one of beneficiaries of international protection.

The Decree also regulates the new form of financing mechanism, which takes place annually, and provides for an advance to be paid by the local authority and for a partial interim payment after reporting what has already been received.[7]

The Moi Decree of 18 November 2019  states that reception in Siproimi lasts six months.[8]

Only in some cases, indicated by the Decree, the reception conditions can be extended with a total of six months, with adequate motivation and prior authorization. In particular, the decree allows the extension for the conclusion of expiring integration paths, or for extraordinary circumstances related to health reasons. Furthermore, the extension of six months could be authorized in case of vulnerabilities, as indicated in Article 17 of the Reception decree. In this case the request for extension must contain
the explicit indication and evidence of the vulnerability.

A further six months can be granted in case of persistent serious health reasons or to allow the completion of the school year.[9]

The MoI Decree also dictates specific rules for the withdrawal of reception conditions which can be ordered in the event of:
a) serious or repeated violation of the house rules, including damages to the facilities or
or serious and violent behaviour;
b) unjustified failure to present in the structure identified by the Central Service;
c) unjustified abandonment of the facility beyond 72 hours, without prior authorization from the local   authority;
d) application to the beneficiary of the measure of pre-trial detention in prison.
The withdrawal of the reception measures is disposed by the local authority.[10]

Following the Court of Cassation decision on non-retroactive applicability of the repeal of humanitarian protection to those who had applied for asylum before the entry into force of the Decree Law 113/2018 (4 October 2018, converted by L 132/2018) some Administrative Tribunals considered the reform provided by L 132/2018 not producing retroactive effects also for the accommodation rights of humanitarian protection holders. This was the case of the Administrative Tribunal of Lombardy – Brescia[11] and of the Administrative Tribunal of Veneto. [12]

Humanitarian protected who had appealed against the access refusal could therefore enter the Siproimi accommodation system.

On 11 June 2019, the Administrative Tribunal of Lazio – Roma provisionally ordered the Ministry of Interior to review the refusal to admit a Nigerian woman with her little daughter, holders of humanitarian protection, to the Siproimi system. The case has not yet been finally discussed because of the suspension of hearings due to Covid-19. The discussion is now scheduled for June 2020.

Both the Administrative Tribunal of Basilicata and the Administrative Tribunal of Calabria-Catanzaro which initially affirmed the right of access to Siproimi for humanitarian protected, [13] later changed their orientation on the matter, observing that the Reception Decree (Article 14) did not provide – even before the law reform- for any reception right after the recognition of a kind of protection. [14]

Closing a particularly politically tense affair, on 21 May 2019 the Administrative Court of Calabria canceled the provision through which the Ministry of Interior had, in October 2018, revoked the SPRAR Project from the Municipality of Riace, suddenly interrupting a ten-year reception system. According to the Ministry, the Municipality of Riace managed the SPRAR reception system outside the legal rules. The Court, while recognizing some managerial inefficiencies of the project, declared the Ministry's provision unlawful for violating the legal rules of the proceeding, as the Ministry had not contested the specific violations deemed nor indicated a deadline for each of them to eliminate them, in the case were founded.[15]

At the time of writing no other Siproimi accommodation projects were re-started in Riace.


Access to public housing


Refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection have a right to access public housing units under the same conditions as nationals.[16] The plan focused on accompaniment towards housing solutions for both those who leave CAS and those who leave SIPROIMI 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.

In some regions, access to public housing is subject to a minimum residence requirement on the national territory. In Friuli-Venezia Giulia, for example, access has been limited to those who can prove 5 years of uninterrupted residence in the region. This can represent a further obstacle for beneficiaries of international protected as Civil Registration at the registry office can only be obtained after the recognition of a protection status.


[1]  According to Article 118 of the Italian Constitution, administrative functions are attributed to the municipalities. See ASGI, Manifeste illegittimita’ costituzionali delle nuove norme concernenti permessi di soggiorno per esigenze umanitarie, protezione internazionale, immigrazione e cittadinanza previste dal decreto-legge 4 ottobre 2018, n. 113, 15 October 2018, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2W4am3n. For a more detailed analysis, see Gianfranco Schiavone, ‘Le Prospettive Di Evoluzione Del Sistema Unico Di Asilo Nell’unione Europea E Il Sistema Di Accoglienza Italiano. Riflessioni Sui Possibili Scenari’ in Fondazione Migrantes, Il diritto d’asilo, minori rifugati e vulnerabili senza voce, Report 2017, February 2017.

[2] These categories of migrants are: victims of trafficking, foreigners who have obtained a residence permit for medical treatment victims of domestic violence; people who have obtained a residence permit because of a natural calamity in their country of origin; victims of particular exploitation; and holders of a residence permit obtained thanks to acts of particular civil value.

[3]  Article 34 MoI Decree 18 November 2019.

[4]  SIPROIMI, I numeri dello Sprar/Siproimi, January 2020, available at https://www.sprar.it/i-numeri-dello-sprar.

[5]  Ibid.

[6] Decree of the Ministry of Interior, 18 November 2019, published on 18 November 2019 on Gazzetta Ufficiale, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/ayPqqeE.

[7] Article 28 attachment A to the MoI decree 18 November 2019.

[8] Article 38 MoI Decree 18 November 2019.

[9] Article 39 MoI Decree 18 November 2019.

[10] Article 40 MoI Decree 18 November 2019.

[11] Administrative Tribunal of Lombardy – Brescia, 10 July 2019, decision 649/2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/jyPqraW; similarly, Administraive Tribunal of Lombardy – Brescia decisions n. 676/2019, n. 453/2019, n. 406/2019, n. 407/2019.

[12] Administrative Tribunal of Veneto, 20 December 2019, decision 1395/2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/RyPqyA2.

[13] Administrative Tribunal of Basilicata, 11 March 2019, decisions 274/2019 and 275/2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/eyPqufu; Administrative Tribunal of Calabria -Catanzaro, 31 July 2019, decision 1492/2019  available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/3yPquBb.

[14] Administrative Tribunal of Basilicata, 18 September 2019, decision 717/2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/lyPqogf; Administrative Tribunal of Calabria -Catanzaro, 11 September 2019, decision 1639/2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/0yPqo6V.

[15] See ASGI: TAR Calabria: annullato provvedimento di revoca al Progetto Riace. ASGI: una vittoria del diritto, 22 May 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/qyPqair.

[16] Article 29 Qualification Decree; Article 40(6) TUI.


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation