change language
you are in: home - friendsh...the poor - friends<...e street - homeless people - immigrants contact usnewsletterlink

Support the Community



printable version


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.


Friends on the street

January 12 2009

Epiphany party at the C.I.E. (Centre for Identification and Expulsion) in Ponte Galeria (Rome - Italy)

IT | EN | DE | FR | PT | NL
February 3 2016

USA-Italy Migration Conference: Integration strengthens democracy and builds a common culture

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | CA
June 17 2011

"Dying of hope": the names and stories of migrants who died during their travel to Europe were commemorated during a Prayer Vigil in Santa Maria in Trastevere

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | CA | NL
June 9 2011

Rome, June 11: Audience of Roma in Europe with the Pope. Vigil and delivery of a memory of Blessed Ceferino

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | CA | RU
May 30 2011

Rome (Italy) – Celebrating the programme “The right to education, the right to a future”: when the schooling integration of gypsies is a success

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | CA | NL | UK
May 23 2011

Barcelona (Spain) – In the Culture and Language School of the Community of Sant'Egidio, in the district of Raval, learning the art of “living together”

IT | EN | ES | FR | CA | NL
all news
January 22 2017
Avvenire - Ed. Lazio Sette

«L'integrazione, interesse di tutti»

March 2 2016
La Vanguardia

Sant Egidi presenta ‘la guía Michelin de los pobres’

March 1 2016

La comunitat de Sant Egidi estima que hi ha 3.000 persones sense llar a Barcelona

March 1 2016
El Mundo

En Barcelona faltan lugares para que los sin techo puedan dormir y ducharse

February 4 2016

Immigrazione, agenzia europea sul modello Usa

January 16 2016

Sant'Egidio: riscoprire il valore dell'immigrazione

all press releases
Comunità di Sant'Egidio

Cinque proposte sull’immigrazione

Appello al Parlamento ungherese sui profughi e i minori richiedenti asilo

La Comunità di Sant'Egidio e i poveri in Liguria - report 2015

Corso di Alta Formazione professionale per Mediatori europei per l’intercultura e la coesione sociale

Sintesi, Rapporti, Numeri e dati sulle persone senza dimora a Roma nel 2015

Le persone senza dimora a Roma

all documents


1345 visits

1284 visits

1360 visits

1348 visits
all the related media