Rome: Pope sets up €1 million fund to help Romans hit by covid-19 crisis

Rome's mayor answers pontiff's call for funds to help those in Rome in financial difficulty due to the covid-19 crisis.

Pope Francis has established a special support fund for Rome individuals and families struggling financially as a result of losing their jobs during the coronavirus emergency, with initial funding of €1 million.

The pontiff set up the fund, known as the Fondo Gesù Divino Lavoratore, in his capacity as the bishop of Rome, the Vatican announced on 9 June.

Pope Francis said his thoughts go “to the great number of daily and occasional workers, to those with fixed-term contracts that have not been renewed, to those who are paid by the hour, to interns, domestic workers, small entrepreneurs, self-employed workers," reports Vatican News.

Describing it as a chance for a "real alliance" with the city of Rome, the pope called on the "good heart of all Romans" to make a contribution to the fund, which will be managed by Catholic charity Caritas.

Francis's call was quickly answered by the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, who pledged €500,000 to the pope's fund.

"We welcome the appeal of the Holy Father" - Raggi said - "it is essential that authorities collaborate to support, especially in this delicate moment, the weakest and most fragile groups."

The pope said the fund was set up to "reaffirm the dignity of work" with a particular focus on "those who risk being excluded from institutional protection and who need support until they can walk again unaccompanied.”

“I would like to see ‘next-door-neighbour solidarity’ flourish in our city,” concluded the pope, reports Vatican News.

File photo by Vatican News