Homeless and forced to beg at the door of the Comune


Ivo De Marinis outside Comune offices

Ivo De Marinis outside Comune offices

Ivo De Marinis, 53 years old has been fined many times for begging right under the archway leading to the city council offices but he neither cares nor feels threatened by the thought of more. He admits to Bologna Press that he has bigger worries on his mind: “I don’t have a home since I was thrown out from our building on Via Gandusio on the 14th of July 2017. I’ve been sleeping rough and its not easy getting their attention (referring to the commune).” When asked about how he wasn’t rehoused he replies, “I didn’t have the right contacts in the Social Assistance offices and I just don’t know where to turn to. And this is how they treat me,” he adds despondently.

Originally from Venice, Ivo has lived in Bologna for many years. Married and with a son, he recounts to us how life suddenly took a turn for the worse. “Me and my wife stay at the ex-hostel San Sisto but my son finds his own arrangements. It’s not ideal obviously, but what else can we do?”

Health wise, he’s not doing that good either. “I’ve had two heart attacks and have cardiopathy. I’m diabetic and living off a disability pension of €289. And for bureaucratic reasons I’m afraid to losing anything more.”Ivo De Marinis

Desperate times – desperate measures

For these reasons Ivo decided to beg outside the city offices in the Navile and in the city centre, risking further fines. According Articles 17 and 19 of the City Police Regulations (Regolamento di Polizia Urbana), Ivo has been fined for ‘laying down and staying in Piazza Liber Paradisus, at the entrance of the Torre A of the Comune of Bologna, begging for alms and getting in the way and disturbing passer-by’s.’

Hunger Strike

Ivo has also threatened to go on hunger and water strike until someone at the Comune listens to him. His case calls to mind the similar circumstances of Massimo Busnelli, a 45-year-old unemployed worker from Crespellano who was similarly forced out of his home. He slept for one year in his car before authorities finally reached out to help him and his family.

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