Row after Rome mayor links homeless death to govt policy

Raggi accused of political profiteering

Row after Rome mayor links homeless death to govt policy

Rome, January 13 - Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi was accused of political profiteering on Friday after she linked the death of a homeless woman during the current wave of extreme cold to government policy. The Roman woman, 53, was found dead late on Thursday in an abandoned caravan she was using for shelter in the city's Tor Marancia district. There were no signs of violence on the woman's body and the current wave of cold weather may have been a key factor in the loss of life, although she is thought to have had health problems. The alarm was raised by a volunteer from NGO who had gone to visit the woman to bring her food. "Today we learned about the death of a lady who lived in a caravan. We are very sorry," said Raggi, a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S). "In December we launched a plan for the cold to put up all the people, too many people, who live on the streets of Rome and are homeless. "We increased the capacity at the facilities, opened the metro stations and in the end we were happy to have added 50 more places, even though we know its a drop in the ocean as there are thousands homeless. "The sadness of this reflection is made worse by the fact that the government loaded over 24 billion euros on to the back of the public to save a bank in under 24 hours but in years but did not approve the M5S's citizen's (basic) income, financed with 17 billion euros. "The councils are on the front line in helping citizens but we are not put in the conditions to do so". Those comments sparked an angry reaction from members of Premier Paolo Gentiloni's centre-left Democratic Party (PD). "Mayor Raggi has gone as far as to use the tragic death of a tramp due to the cold to attack the government," PD MP Lorenza Bonaccorsi said on Facebook. "It's despicable profiteering".

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