In the small town of Rescaldina, Italy, Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion are finding a safe haven in unexpected dwellings: the homes of Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta, one of the most powerful Mafia-type organizations in the nation.
According to the town’s mayor, Gilles Andrè Ielo, the decision to use the large number of assets that the government has seized from Italy’s criminal organizations as homes for refugee families was taken by the Interior ministry. Currently, the National Agency for the Administration of Assets Confiscated from Organized Crime manages a total of approximately 40,000 properties.
Tetiana, a woman who’s escaped Ukraine from Bucha with her children, was the first to stay in one of the ‘Ndrangheta’s former houses in Rescaldina.
When mayor Ielo recalls picking up Tetiana and her family for the first time, he gets emotional. “The fact that they were not in a reception center with too many people, but rather in a proper house made them feel much calmer,” Ielo says.
Using these assets for social good is not just a way to help those in need, but it “sends out a very strong message to organized criminals,” says Bruno Corda, the director of the National Agency for the Administration of Assets Confiscated from Organized Crime.