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Fra Biagio Conte sleeping outdoors again

The city and regional government have broken their promises and robbed the poor of hope says lay missionary Fra Biagio Conte whose Mission of Hope and Charity houses and feeds more than a thousand destitute people, Palermitans and immigrants alike in four urban missions and now on several farms in Sicily. Fra Biagio says that the city of Palermo and the regional government promised his mission the sheds on abandoned property adjacent to his first mission in Via Archirafi. It is a place where his homeless men can gather and store paper and cardboard to sell to recyclers, . The former owners of the property, a former foundry, on which the large sheds sit slowly went bankrupt, but then the property was sold to a private interest that now plans to build a giant supermarket on the site. Biagio Conte is protesting by sleeping outside there. He has written letters of protest and supplication to Pope Francis I and to Italian President Mattarella, who is from Palermo himself.
"This space," says Biagio Conte, "is their hope, their means of feeling useful, they can't take it from them. The city in 1995 promised us to acquire the property to hand it over to us to use for the homeless and over the years the Region made us the same promise. The government must intervene and take over the space."
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