There are about 20,000 people and 8,000 families in Emilia-Romagna who have obtained Solidarity Income (Res) to help them through poverty. The Res, which started in September 2017, is a monthly financial contribution linked to a program of activation and social reintegration of beneficiaries. The regional council has allocated 33 million euros for 2018, and 35 million for 2019.
The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia has compiled a photograph of the Res in the first eight months of operation (September 2017-May 2018). There were more than 21,000 applications, or 625 a week, on a resident population of just fewer than 2 million people. Of these, the requests on which INPS is verifying the required requisites are over 12,700. Last May, there were 6,223 families admitted to the contribution to which are added 494 that take advantage of the national measures. Rejected applications hit 1,809, with a rejection rate for both contributions of 21%.
At the territorial level, in the province of Bologna there were 1,792 family units that have already obtained Res: Modena (896), Reggio Emilia (591), Ravenna (552), Ferrara (524), Parma (598), Rimini (496), Forlì-Cesena (514) and Piacenza (323). All the territories are therefore active and committed to the fight against absolute poverty. 45% of the applicants are nuclei composed of one person, and in 66% of cases without dependent children. The data concerning the working poor are significant: in 61% of cases in the family there is at least one person that works, even if in a precarious or underpaid way.
“This is a measure of civilization, which goes straight to the heart of those in need,” underlines the president of the Region, Stefano Bonaccini. “In these years we have worked to leave no one behind, to combine growth with social cohesion. Now that the Solidarity Income is a reality, we have not only accompanied and largely anticipated the Government’s commitment to the fight against inequality, but we are faced with a decisive and crucial fact for those families, and we think we will reach about 30,000 within a year, that in our region live everyday life grappling with difficulties that we must do everything to alleviate. This tool wants to give a concrete answer to those who are really in situations of hardship, encouraging at the same time job placement. Res, in fact, goes beyond the economic contribution because it commits those who receive it to make a ‘pact’ with us to regain autonomy and reintegrate into society. We are not facing the granting of a mere economic contribution,” the President of the Region concludes, “but to an opportunity that must be given to those in need, to the real attempt not to leave anyone behind.”
Vice president and councillor for Welfare, Elisabetta Gualmini, adds that, “After the enormous work carried out by everyone the new pillar of regional welfare has finally started: services and aid against inequality and absolute poverty. A radical change in the way of working and addressing the needs of the citizens who are bearing fruit; the questions continue to be many and we are doing everything to give answers to everyone in a reasonable time. It is a new and unexplored direction that will become a hallmark of the history of our region for the coming years.”
There are two measures to combat poverty: the Sia, active throughout the country since September 2016, and the Res, wanted by the Region. Since Sia is aimed at a non-exhaustive audience of beneficiaries with respect to the characteristics of poverty phenomenon in Emilia-Romagna, the Region’s choice has been to widen it from a universalist point of view, including the nuclei without minors or with disabled children.
A decision taken also to optimize the use of available national and regional resources: in fact the Solidarity Income is designed in such a way as to place on the national measures (Sia, and from next year Rei-Income for active inclusion) all beneficiaries attributable to this measure, so as not to ‘overload’ Res resources.
During the multi-year budget, the Legislative Assembly will be propose to extend it to 35 million a year for Res financing and also in 2020.
About half of the households hitherto admitted to the Solidarity Income is made up of one person and over two thirds (69%) have no minors. 14.2% have a minor, 11.9% two, and only 1.1% have more than four children. As for age, one-third of households have an applicant with at least 56 years and around 60% with more than 45 years.
It is women who ask for contributions more frequently (68.4%) provided for by the national measure (Sia) reserved for groups with minors, while for the Res applications these are requested by men (50.6%) and women (49.4 %) in similar percentages. Finally, to benefit from both contributions families mudt at least have one member working (61.5%), even if in a precarious or poorly paid way. The Res seems therefore able to reach many ‘working poor,’ ie poor people despite living in families in which income from work is present.
Poverty in Emilia-Romagna
There are 65,000 families (3.3% in Emilia-Romagna, 6% in Italy) below the absolute poverty line, ie they do not have sufficient income to meet essential needs: mostly people under 35 or between 35-49 years with dependent minors.
And according to Istat estimates re-elaborated by the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, there are over 4,000 homelessness to be added to this overall figure.
Recipients of the measure are households with Isee (Indicator of the economic situation equivalent) of less than 3,000 euros and with residence in the region for at least 24 months. The duration of the benefit also increases from 12-18 months, after which it cannot be renewed until after six months, and only for one year.
In addition to the monthly economic component, which ranges between 80 euros for single people and 400 for families, Solidarity Income focuses on the social and labour insertion of the people who ask for it; in fact, it envisages personalized projects of activation and social and work inclusion, set up under the direction of Social Services and aimed at liberating oneself from the condition of poverty. Solidarity income lasts for a maximum of one year.
The duration of the benefit also increases from 12-18 months, after which it cannot be renewed until after six months, and only for one year. A person needs to be resident in Emilia-Romagna for at least 24 continuous months.
From June, the Res expanded its audience, increasing both the monthly amount and the duration of the contribution to supplement Rei, the income of national inclusion. The monthly contribution for a person goes from the current 80-110 euros – minimum guaranteed amount – up to a maximum of 352 euros for a group of 6 people; the units with Isee not exceeding 6,000 euros may request it, be required with an Isee not exceeding 6,000 euros per year, twice the previous 3,000 and a value of the real estate property, different from the dwelling house, not higher than 20,000 euros.