“I’m someone again”

Female, 59

“I’m someone again”

Female, 59

Sudden turn of events made this 59-year-old female homeless. She is thankful for having a home again.

“I could never have imagined that I would become homeless. In the summer of 2014, they started renovating the facade of the building in Espoo where I had a city rental apartment.

I have asthma, so I couldn’t stay there. I decided to end the tenancy. I thought I would find a new apartment by the autumn.

I lived with my friends for the summer. When I couldn’t find a flat, I was offered a temporary place through the social services office. Even though I had a roof over my head, I was officially homeless.

A second-class citizen

That made everything feel uncertain. I felt like I was a second-class citizen, a reject.

I started blaming myself and wondered if I could have done something differently. Society treats homeless people in a certain way.

When they ask for your address at the bank, for example, their attitude changes once you give them a poste restante address. I think that’s unfair. Why does society stigmatise the homeless, when many of them can’t do anything about their situation?

I feel important again now that I am responsible for my own life.

I was officially homeless for eight months. Then I was offered an apartment in Väinölä. Moving to Väinölä was tough because I was used to living alone.

It took months until I got used to the other people around me. When I heard their stories, I understood that many others had it worse than I did. I lived in Väinölä for almost a year, but I wanted to get my own place. I sent an application to the Y-Foundation, and two months later I was offered an apartment.

Friendly neighbours

This is the best apartment I have lived in. I have two rooms with laminate flooring, and the apartment has a sauna and a glazed balcony.

The apartment building is quiet and my neighbours are friendly. One of them gave me a good shoe rack since mine was shaky. An apartment means security – now I have a home to return to.

I feel important again now that I am responsible for my own life. I am someone again, I am me. I feel that I have to take care of my own business now. I can’t wait for the tenth of May. That’s when I’ll get a permanent lease. We initially signed a one-year lease with the foundation, just to make sure that everything goes well.

I’m retired but I have a tremendous amount of things to do! Lots of people take naps, but I don’t have enough hours in the day for that.

I’m studying upper secondary school courses. I’m especially interested in psychology and philosophy. We get together with my friends every few weeks to talk about literature, history and politics. Writing is important to me and I would like to write an autobiography some day.”

This story was first published in our book A Home of Your Own (2017). 

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