The lay Catholic movement, the Comunit di S. Egidio, which provides care and food for more than 4,000 homeless in Rome among its many missions, has just published a report on the winter living conditions of the elderly who live alone in their own homes often in primitive conditions. The research has revealed that 23 per cent of old people living in central Rome, Trastevere and Testacchio have either no heating at all (six per cent) or very limited heating (17 per cent). Every year between January and March the mortality rate in Rome rises by up to 25 per cent. A spokesperson for S. Egidio explained that cold was probably responsible for many of these deaths, not just during a severe winter, such as this one, but every year.

The Rome city councillor responsible for social conditions, has said that in 2006 the Rome city council will be giving 70 to everyone over 75 with only a state pension as income to help pay for heating.