The Roma Residence is a group of buildings located at 451 de la Via di Bravetta, 10 minutes from the Vatican. Each building contains hundred of beds. The proprietor is Massimo Mezzaroma, a housing entrepreneur. In accordance with the town council; the complex serves as a welcome center. Over the years, these buildings have housed thousands of people. The municipality takes care of rent and loges the needy, the other tenants rent from the proprietor.
In 1983, the municipality spent 4 million liras, a month, for each bed occupied by those having rights to housing assistance, and since then, has continued to pay exorbitant prices into March of 2006, when the residence was forced to close following a switch in usage and a reevaluation of the land. During the past 23 years, every time a house was found for the Italian families needing assistance, the place of residence was often rented out to immigrants from other countries, often with the accord of the local embassies concerned, at very high rates. It has been several years that the problems in the residence have reached alarming levels, unfit for people or even animals. The shocking lack of cleanliness reached a point where garbage was piled in the open, with trash lying everywhere, multiple rat colonies, sewers opening into what once were garages, no elevators nor even hot water, and sometimes absence of electricity. Children and the elderly, particularly; became sick, and the fear of being evicted without pretext was present. The Roma Residence, with its history, has become a symbol of deteriorating housing, of morals, and of the institutions of Rome. It is a problem plaguing the poor, and a story which seems to be repeating itself endlessly.