“I got really lucky”

Male, 48

“I got really lucky”

Male, 48

Financial crisis made this 48-year-old male homeless. A home from the Y-Foundation brought back the trust for having a good future.

“I moved to Finland from the United States in 2009. Back there I had a nice apartment and a successful business.

When the financial crisis hit, I knew things were going to be bad in America for a long time.

My father is from Finland so I did some research and found out there was a market for my business. I left a lot of things behind me, but I would not have been able to live with myself if I hadn’t tried it.

Everything was going well at first

I got my business up and running and everything was going well at first. I even paid back half of the loan in advance. Then the financial crisis hit Finland and affected my business.

I had an expensive apartment in Helsinki and I spent a lot of money on fixing my car. I had some problems with a couple of my employees.

Then summer came along and suddenly there was no work – in America summer was one of the busiest times and it didn’t occur to me that during summer the whole of Finland stands still. I needed the money that I had paid back to the bank.

My injuries are slowly healing up.

So the business went down and I got evicted from my apartment because  of circumstances that were just out of my control. It felt like a nightmare, so surreal. I had to move my things to my employee’s house and go live in a hostel. My secretary at the time told me about the Y-Foundation.

I got really lucky, because it only took about a month and a half to find an apartment. I suffer from back pains caused by an old injury, so I needed a place on the bottom floor and a working elevator.

A salvation out of the blue

This place had everything. It was such a salvation out of the blue.

I have been here for over three years now. The neighbourhood is incredibly sedate and I have the nicest, quiet neighbours. There is a new sauna downstairs. I just love to sit there for a long time. It helps heal the pains. I actually was a big sauna fan even before I came to Finland.

After I left America, the rents skyrocketed. Now there are tent cities everywhere, with even veterans living there. Finns would never let that happen to their own. The only thing I miss about America is the food!

Despite everything, I have never regretted coming to Finland. I am much happier than a couple of years ago because I don’t have to worry about ending up on the streets. My injuries are slowly healing up.

There are many businesses that I would like start up. I make an excellent American-style pizza and I would love to start a pizza parlour. Now I am working on the business plan.

Having this apartment has provided me the ability to return to normal life and start planning the future again.”

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

Our other pages: m2kodit.fi | housingfirsteurope.eu