No savings, no rent
When her mother and father kicked her out of the house, she took her children to her sister’s house and started sleeping on chairs in the emergency room at San Camillo Hospital in Rome. There were no alternatives. Alessia has a job, sure, but no savings. She tried to contact numbers on private rental ads to find a place to rent, but without savings she couldn’t pay the deposit, and without a deposit no one would rent her a house.
So in the morning Alessia would knock on a friend’s door to take a shower, then she would go to work, and in the evening she would get on a bus to go back to the hospital hallway. It went on like this for a week, until an acquaintance told her: “If you need a house, I’ll help you. Give me 2,000 euros and I’ll find you a place to sleep.”
Rome is a city in which the place where you are born and grow up write your destiny
The place to sleep was a gallery of the “serpentone” (big snake, in Italian), the building of 1,260 apartments, divided in six lots, each made up of nine floors, 900 meters of concrete designed and built in Corviale in the 1970s by architect Mario Fiorentino, who wanted to turn it into a living example of socialist utopia.
Eight floors of apartments and one, the fourth of each lot, conceived to host meeting places and services, a project that quickly faded away, because since the beginning of the 1980s, all the common spaces have been occupied by illegal paying tenants: 150, 300 or even 500 euros per month for a shared bathroom, a small room and a kitchenette.
In order to have a place in the gallery on the fourth floor, Alessia had to pay 2,000 euros to the squatting racket. That was the voice who’d come hunting for her that night, on the intercom.
“The neighborhood you’re born in determines who you are”
Alessia’s youngest child will start middle school next year, the second-born child studies computer science at the technical institute, the older one already works as an electrician. At 16, his school life …….