One of the clients of the Social Rental Agency is Aleksiey. He arrived to Warsaw in 2011 to study international relations. During the studies he lived in student halls and his housing problems had started right after graduation. Because of his disability and vision defect it was challenging for him to find employment, which would be compliant with his education and skills – before moving to Warsaw he worked as a translator and he did not manage to find a job in this profession in Warsaw. Currently, Aleksiey has a cleaning job. His income is stable, but low. He rents a room that he shares with 3 other people. This is how Aleksiey describes his difficulties with finding a decent place to live in Warsaw:
After graduation I had to find a room to live in. It was challenging, as the prices were high and the conditions were difficult – I had to constantly live with others, with strangers. One time my things disappeared from my room and I never found out what happened with them. I rented several rooms since 2014 and each time I shared them with one, two or even three people. I’m not complaining, because having a roof over one’s head is important, but I would love to be able to have a room, where I could close the door and be on my own. I would like to lie down on my bed comfortably, being able to read, write, eat and sleep. Currently, I am renting a bed in a room, where there are 3 other people besides me. It is a two-room apartment, so in the room next to mine there are another 4 people. It is not too bad, but sometimes it is difficult to have a rest even in my own bed.”
Even though the participants are in employment, their housing situation remains very difficult. They all have relatively low incomes. Most often they cannot afford renting apartments on the market. It is not uncommon that their financial situation forces them to share rooms with strangers. Some of them live in conditions, which put their health at risk. Renting commercially is not a solution for them.