Italy's homeless population tops 47,000

Unemployment and separation among main causes of destitution

Italy's homeless population tops 47,000

(ANSA) - Rome, October 9 - Over 47,000 people in Italy are without a proper roof over their head, the national statistics agency said on Tuesday. In the last two months of 2011, 47,648 people used the soup kitchens and night shelters made available for the homeless in the country's 158 largest municipalities, Istat said. The majority of homeless people are male (86.9%), aged less than 45 (57.9%) and foreign (59.4%), and they are concentrated primarily in the north of Italy (38.8%) and in big cities such as Milan (27.5%) and Rome (16.4%). The condition of homelessness has persisted for an average of 2.5 years, with the figure for Italians rising to 3.9 years compared to 1.6 years for non-Italians. Just over 28% of homeless people are in employment, although this is usually on a fixed-term or irregular basis. The average wage is 347 euros per month. Unemployment is one of the major causes of homelessness along with marital separation, Istat says.

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