The fifth life story in Finding home in Europe, a HOMInG book edited by L.E. Pérez Murcia and S. Bonfanti (Berghahn, 2022), is “

A Story of Accumulated Homelessness. Mateos, an Eritrean Refugee in Rome” by Aurora Massa and Milena Belloni. The authors recount the life story of Mateos, a man in his forties who has lived in Italy since 2005. This illuminates the different facets of what it means to be homeless. While Mateos is actively looking for stable and decent accommodation after multiple evictions in Rome, his experience in different informal settlements shows the importance of a community bond, a feeling of control – agency – and personal realization to the perception of being at home. As the authors stress, Mateos’s homemaking efforts have been fraught with structural factors, such as the lack of housing policies for migrants and refugees in Italy, and individual factors, such as material precariousness, his health and his distance from family members.

See the editors’ conceptual Introduction to the book here.

On the life narratives of home and homelessness among Eritrean refugees see also Belloni and Massa, Accumulated homelessness: Analysing protracted displacement along Eritreans’ life historiesRefugee Studies, 2022On ethnographic approaches to home among displaced and “vulnerable people”, see also Bonfanti, Chen and Massa, Vulnerable homes on the move, Focaal, 2022, Introduction and Special Issue.