The Roma people living under the Bacula overpass in the North of Milan, Italy, were forcibly evicted on Tuesday by local authorities. According to local newspapers, 70 out of about 150 Roma people living there were dispersed without alternative accommodation.
Some families had been already rehoused in private structures. One family accepted temporary shelter in the city’s dormitory.
It appears that there has been no consultation with the community on the proposed evictions, nor consistent attempts to identify with them any feasible alternatives to the evictions. It appears that the authorities have not prepared any plan for adequate alternative housing or discussed it with individuals likely to be affected.
The municipality’s practice on previous occasions has been to offer some form of shelter in the short term (weeks or a few months), and only to women and small children, in the city’s dormitories for homeless people.
Before being evicted, the community was living in tents and makeshift shelters under the Bacula overpass, with no running water, sewerage or electricity. Without alternative accommodation, the families face having to move to another makeshift camp or risk complete homelessness.
Most of the Roma people living in the Bacula camp have previously experienced at least one forced eviction. Approximately 110 of them are believed to have been forcibly evicted, in April 2008, from another unauthorized camp in the city, in via Bovisasca.
Of these 110, at least 100 had apparently also been forcibly evicted, in October 2007, from the same Bacula camp where they are living now. Several of the previous forced evictions involved the destruction of property, including shelters, clothes, mattresses, and, in some instances, medicines and documents.