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Homeless shelter Finding refuge inside Chiasso’s church

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A church in canton Ticino on the Italian border is opening its doors to the homeless, mostly migrants or would-be asylum seekers, who gather at the local railway station. The basement of the Church San Vitale Martire in the Swiss town of Chiasso has been turned into a temporary shelter for them to sleep and wash. (

Meanwhile, up to 100 other migrants and asylum seekers wait every night in the nearby Italian town of Como to continue their journey north. The Como ‘Volunteers Without Borders’ and other organisations find these people temporary shelter nearby.

There are fewer such people in Ticino than in Como, yet recently some of those in need have spent the coldest hours of the day in the Chiasso railway station. News of a makeshift campfire started at the station sparked immediate reactions in Chiasso, as it made people realise just how cold those sleeping outside are at the moment. Politicians from different political parties asked the government to open civil protection shelters to these people in emergency situations.