Social housing in Italy, its historical and recent developments, and its criticalities are discussed considering both the pre- and the post-crisis period. The main effects of the crisis on Italian households and the exacerbating of housing problems are also analysed. A critical review of the main policy instruments implemented before and after the crisis is provided, with a special focus on new models of intervention. It is not clear how the housing needs of low income households will be addressed in the near future. Traditional public-managed social housing has been left with insufficient resources while the newly-built affordable housing sector is mainly targeting mid-income households. Several new policy instruments have been deployed and billions of euros invested. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to observe a consistent strategy oriented to increasing the level of social protection in the housing domain, beyond the conventional management of “emergencies”.