John (not his real name) has been living in Italy for many years. He arrived when he was still very young and he spent several years on the street. His life was marked by a strong addiction to alcohol which he shared with two of his friends. “Everyone knew me in the neighborhood. Someone was helping me. Someone despised me. That wasn’t a life.”

For about six months he has been living in a shared apartment thanks to the Housing First Rome project. The house changed his life and, looking us straight in the eyes with great pride, he tells us that he hasn’t drunk since he’s been at home. “It’s crazy but that’s how it is… it happened like this. I quit”. And he goes on to say: “Now that I have a home, I feel like I have a real life”

John has always had precarious jobs but what he earned he spent largely on alcohol. He started drinking early in the morning and stopped drinking in the evening, also because living on the streets it was very difficult to overcome the addiction

John is young, has a house and his whole life ahead of him

It is waiting to renew the documents. He is taking up residence at the house where he lives thanks to the HF project. The support of tutors and volunteers who accompany him every day is essential. They are people who believed in him and made the change in his life possible

Meanwhile John keeps busy doing odd jobs through friends and word of mouth. His goal is to enter the restaurant business with a secure employment contract. He wants to learn the language better and is attending an Italian school for foreigners

He resumed relationships with his family that he hadn’t heard from for years because he was ashamed of the condition he lived. Even in the neighborhood where he lives and works today he is appreciated “Those who knew me before, when I was drinking, now find it hard to recognize me. But everyone is happy for me and they tell me that I’ve changed, that I’m happy and that it shows that I now have a home”

John does not speak too much but one thing stands out in his story: “The HF project has given me a new life. It wasn’t a life before. My life is now”