“Things are good as they are”

Male, 58

“Things are good as they are”

Male, 58

58-year-old male lives now in the Väinölä housing unit after a period of homelessness. The housing unit was constructed by the Y-Foundation, the city of Espoo rents the apartments to the residents and the Salvation Army runs the services.

I lost my own apartment in 2010 because of alcohol. I initially spent a month in hospital because of health problems. From there, I was directed to a supported housing unit meant for substance abuse rehabilitees for six months. After that I lived in a unit with social services meant for the long-term homeless for four and a half years.

I was the only resident who did not need help with making it through everyday life. Eventually, the social workers also started to wonder why I had been placed there. I then moved into a halfway house for substance abuse rehabilitees.

Väinölä feels like home

Now I have a 36.5-square-metre studio apartment in Väinölä. You can’t even compare it to the places I lived in before.

They did not feel like home. In the housing unit with social services, you marched to a routine: you had breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. In halfway houses you lived in dorms and there were curfews.

The best thing about my apartment is that it’s really quiet here.

What having my own apartment means to me is that I don’t have to be on my toes all the time. I have a roof over my head. I enjoy being in Väinölä. I don’t particularly need any help with living, but I think it’s good that staff will call or visit if a resident hasn’t been seen for three days.

It doesn’t bother me that someone can enter my apartment, but I do know that it bothers some people.

Peaceful living environment

The best thing about my apartment is that it’s really quiet here. The neighbours don’t bother me.

There’s enough space – one person doesn’t need any more. I’ve received a disability pension for ten years. At home I watch TV, listen to music and browse the internet. I spend a lot of time on my computer, because I do genealogy and read all kinds of things related to music.

Every now and then in Väinölä I participate in work activity packaging reflectors, and I go to the common areas for my morning coffee and lunch. If I don’t feel like being alone in the evenings, there are always people to chat with in the common area.

I get along well with the other residents; I’ve made friends here. We talk about all sorts of things and watch TV together. Of course, not everyone will even come and talk when there is no common language to communicate in.

I haven’t had any alcohol for over five years and am a support person for a few friends.

I hope that in the future my health will stay stable at the least, if not improve. I want to stay and live in Väinölä, I don’t have any urge to leave. Things are good as they are.”

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

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