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Among the homeless the presence of foreign people needs a special consideration.

They are usually young people, just arrived, looking for an employment, who, in the first stage of their staying, remain without a roof, due to the lack of reception services or because it is very difficult to find a house due to the suspicion of landlords towards foreigners.

They emigrate with the hope of finding soon a job and sending back money to their relatives. Some are refugees, waiting to reach their families in other countries. The experience of the street becomes the first undesirable difficult step, of their staying.

Notwithstanding what is normally believed, foreign people do not accept life on the street without pain and suffering, even if it is temporary. On the contrary, this condition causes shame and great humiliation, but in fact it is obligatory to create a better future.

Some of them, even when they manage to find a job, are compelled to keep on living on the street. Only for some of them is the beginning of a story of dropping-out similar to that of many young Italians. Being abroad makes this plight more difficult than for the Italians, because they do not know the language and they have nobody to ask for help and above all they are afraid to do it.


Homesickness of relatives and country, common to all immigrants, is for homeless an aching feeling which, added to all the difficulties of daily life and to uncertainty of it, sometimes provokes anger. 

Hunted people

The homeless foreigners are more frequently obliged to cope with the dangers of life on the street: they have less possibilities of finding shelter in the few available structures, because they are young and they often have no regular documents. They find shelter during the night in hidden places, because they are afraid of having their documents checked and being sent away: under the bridges, in ramshackle flats, along rails tracks. They sometimes lose their life because they accept dangers in order to stay hidden.

When they are ill, if their documents are not in order, they rarely go to the hospital because they do not want to be signalled to the authorities. Moreover, they are not treated in the hospital with the necessary care because of their communication difficulties. This sometimes makes their condition worst

Being far from home

Some people on the street become alcoholics, even abandoning their original religious traditions like for example the Muslims. The problem of drinking alcohol represents for them not only a shame, but also a religious sin: it is a new burden added to that of being homeless. It is the knowledge of a double crack: they cannot find a home and a job and moreover they betrayed their religion.

This situation creates a great sufferance: these people would always like to abandon alcohol, but, being alone, are not able to. This is clear in some periods: for example the Muslims during Ramadam.

Also those foreigners who manage to find a job: in a short time, they go back to a normal life and start to believe again in a better future.

Loneliness for immigrants is made worst by the hostility of the native "street mate". The struggle for survival is hard, and the Italian homeless think that the presence of foreigners - who sometimes are more numerous than themselves - is a menace to their possibilities of having access to the scarce resources available.

It starts a sad war among poor people caused by the lack of services and structures. As a matter of fact, where an answer to everybody's needs is granted without distinction among Italians and immigrants, living together is not a problem, and it is also possible to see small gestures of solidarity.


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