In this testimony, Lucia, a social worker, shares her first experience of rehousing by Street Nurses, when she was still a trainee. It ended in failure but it is a good illustration of the possible comings and goings before a sustainable reintegration of the homeless person.

Everything indicated he was ready to move into housing

Lucia remembers, the meeting that day with Mr. C in a café, “He was super clean on him. He was happy to tell us that he had cut his beard and put on a shirt.”

At first glance, everything seemed perfect. “We had found him a nice place to live. He said he was ready to start a new phase in his life. Confidence prevailed and we were enthusiastic about the rehousing. Success seemed assured. ”

He wanted to spend one last night in the street

When the day came to move in, the team asked him about his plans. “Mr told us that he first wanted to spend one last night in the street with his friends. He saw it as a way to say goodbye and move on. We understood his need, so we didn't worry.”

So the team agreed to come and see him the next day, to check how that last night in the street had gone and how he was feeling. “When we arrived to the housing, nothing. Not a sound. There was no one inside. He wasn’t there”, she remembers.

The team came by a few days later to find out how he was doing. His place was empty and it was impossible to reach him. “We started to worry. What had happened to him? We looked for him for several weeks, he never came back to his housing.”



Mr C. returned to live in the street

The team was really worried and kept on the lookout. Until one day a colleague crossed him in the street: “Mr told him he was fine in the street. He was sipping his little beer with his buddies. He was clean on him and appeared to be in good health, but had no intention of returning to his housing.”

This may be part of the process, but it was Lucia’s first rehousing. “I had expectations , I told myself that Mr would be entitled to a new start and that we would be there to support him. But I think in the end I was more enthusiastic than he was,” she deplores.

In the end, the choice was his

Since then, Mr. C. ’s situation has improved, he has returned to live with his ex-wife. He is still followed by the Street Nurses team and he is doing well.

This experience underscores the importance of understanding individual needs and respecting each person’s choices, even if we think that his path is all drawn.

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(*) We make every effort to respect the privacy of our patients and our professional secrecy. However, we want to testify to how they must survive and how we work together to reintegrate them. As a result, the names of places and people are deliberately omitted or changed, and actual situations are placed in a different context. There is no direct link between the photos and the stories above.