Keywords: Social Housing; Affordability; Rent Arrears; Housing Hardship; Social Dwellers.
A serious increase in rent arrears among social dwellers has been registered in Lombardy since the beginning of 2000, further worsened by the 2008 financial crisis. The public social housing provider is coping with the difficulty of containing
and recovering the debt, which results in a considerable lack of financial resources. Through quantitative data and interviews, this contribution analyzes the characteristics of the rent arrears phenomenon, using it as a proxy for housing hardship and focusing its attention on the public housing provider. What emerges is a very complex picture in which households in social housing seem
to become progressively more vulnerable while the public housing providers appears stuck in a management structure unsuitable to face these issues. The article finally supports the need for a change of perspective, able to address the affordability issue in the social housing sector, within a framework of coordination and cooperation between diverse policy sectors.