Keywords: Affordable Housing; Housing Policy; Social Housing; Europe; Italy.
Social housing in Italy is at its moment of truth, with new models of intervention such as the integrated system of funds (SIF) - involving public and private inverstors - and the non-profit initiatives being tested. Meanwhile, public policy seems to have abdicated its responsibility for the traditional public social housing segment (ERP), within which 4% of Italian households are accomodated. At the background is the global financial crisis, which has worsened housing affordability problems and further limited public spending. In this paper Italian policy towards social and affordable housing is analyzed in a comparative and historical perspective. The focus is on ERP and SIF sectors, and on their recent developments. Our analysis calls for a consistent long-term strategy in housing policy - a historical desideratum - especially towards low-income households. In this perspective, it would be advisable to take advantage of both existing legacies (ERP) and new models of intervention.