What solutions could be found to reduce the burden that the cost of living has on our lives?

The cost of living, and particularly of rents, is one of the most felt problems by the people who took part in the Polisfonia workshops. 

What would it be like to live in Bolzano (or in other places with a similar issue) if rents were not so high? 

Many people say they would work less and devote themselves more to creative or recreational activities. The extra money or time saved would be very useful to do things that they would not otherwise afford to do because of low savings or lack of free time. Things such as taking music lessons, going to the theater or the cinema, visiting exhibitions and concerts, but also dining out more often or investing in other hobbies. 
The most significant effect for many, however, would be the easing of their rent related worries. A psychological effect that is seemingly trivial but can turn life upside down in a positive fashion. 

What would it be like if thousands of people could live  their lives with less rent-related worries? 

Being able to pay a rent proportionate to one's earnings, a rent that is more ethically sustainable, would markedly alleviate the anxieties linked to the power mechanism to which we are subjected in a situation where the cost of living is excessively high and where the average wages are not enough to cover it properly.

The Autonomous Province of Bolzano supports people in greater economic difficulty with funding designed to help the coverage of rent and related expenses.
Such a system seems beneficial, but in reality it accentuates the problem even deeper. The money given to people in need is in fact not really "for them", but it directly finances property owners that keep the rents dishonestly and excessively high in the first place. This seemingly positive support mechanism is therefore part of the problem and contributes to keep the cost of rents at an ethically questionable level.

A similar mechanism concerns the provincial economic support designed to help people or families who decide to buy a 'first home'. The Autonomous Province of Bolzano provides in fact a non-repayable contribution to those who want to buy their first home. To access it one must fall into specific income brackets and meet further requirements in a points-based ranking that includes several factors (such as family economic condition, family size, etc.).
The amounts paid out by the province are substantial and can vary from € 13,000 to € 67,000 depending on the individual condition (data taken from the Autonomous Province of Bolzano website in March 2022).
Once again, however, a mechanism that seems to help citizens looking for a place to live, in reality contributes significantly to the increase in the cost of real estate in the region, because those who sell real estate automatically calculate a surcharge sized to the provincial contribution, which therefore makes the possibility of purchase less and less accessible for many other people. 

(Current purchase prices in Bolzano, according to the Agenzia delle Entrate database, are between €3,000 and €6,000 per square metre, and rental prices are between €13 and €20 per square metre, with a trend towards the higher end of the range. National italian average, according to the same database is around 1700€/sqrm for buying, and 7€/sqrm for renting).

Many people therefore wonder:

What could be done to solve this problem?

Finding a solution is however not easy. The most common proposals are politically imposed rent restraints, which are often easily circumvented as similar realities show, or tax breaks proportional to one's income, which apparently have not yet been tested.

An interesting alternative could be a group purchase of properties to be managed as a common, but this option has the same difficulties related to unaffordable prices even for a larger group of people.

Another possibility would be to occupy one of the countless unused houses/flats in the province of Bolzano (estimated to be around 15,000 in a report by the Institute for the Promotion of Workers), which are purposely kept vacant and actively contribute to increasing the cost of other rents, but local law enforcement against these kind of actions is quite harsh.

However, some movement on these matters seems to happen in local politics, mainly in the form of a de-taxation for those who rent unused dwellings, or as a significant increase of taxation on unused dwellings, which however might not be too difficult to circumvent.

This is what we discussed mainly during the Sonic Assembly format.
What do you think?
Dialogue is a very good way to bring political issues to the surface and deepen them, now we have to find concrete practices to be part of the solution.