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Substitutes Homeless

Diego Denora | València, Spain

Luisa and the plants. You are here, your home is here, but it isn't really. Your legs dig the earth like roots, but it's almost an illusion because you are not really here. You are invisible, like the feeling of missing you are feeling every day.

The young expats are sharing the life of the Valencian Community, but they are completely ignored by the administration. For this reason, I call them "substitutes homeless", because they are living with the Spanish people, but not really like them. They are invisible like the homeless, but they are paying rent or working in a company.

Marketing Director, Writer, non-professional photographer.

Diego Denora


"We're expats, but the truth is that we are substitutes homeless". Expat means "expatriate", which in many cases is a polite way of saying, migrants. Most of the young people who moved to Valencia to find a better job, or better chances, stayed here despite everything. Are they Spanish? No, but they shared the same problems as the Valencian community: the closure of universities, job contracts that end, the risk of contagion, and the bureaucracy, that complicates everything. How did they overcome the Covid-19? Did they keep their jobs? Did they pay the rent, when the administration forgot the subventions? In the pandemic, we are just humans suffering the same fear, rules, but we are not the same. Nobody talks about expats, that's why they are like the homeless: invisible to society but present.

The Covid is not gone. What about the Expats? Those who have been lucky created a network of emotions: someone has married despite everything, some lives with his partner, someone has fallen in love with his pet, someone is and still looking for identity and stability. Expats remain invisible, as their emotions and the realities. Invisibles who pay regular rent. Why don't they come back "to their house"? Because they share the best and the worst of this 2020 with their community and this is not something that you can deal with. Returning "home" is not allowed anymore, because they could be in danger of being even more invisible: no longer Italian, nor Spanish really, nor really homeless. They are neither one nor the other: they become substitutes homeless.

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