LIFE seemed to be on the up for Gianluca, a new job and a place to call his own, but as the coronavirus outbreak impacted all of our daily lives it took a toll on his future.

The 47-year-old came to England from Italy in 2003, before getting married and having children, but life changed, and he started taking drugs and became homeless.

And last year he found Winchester Nightshelter. He was finally back on track.

“Finally, I managed to get into the nightshelter, get back on my feet, then I got a job and everything was going well,” said Gianluca.

“I managed to save some money to get a place in Eastleigh.”

Working to repair council housing in the borough, his employer was impressed with his hard work – but the coronavirus changed everything. Suddenly his employer had to let him go.

“It was through an agency and due to social distancing I couldn’t work. I had put a deposit for a property down and just a week before I was due to move in we ended up in lockdown.

“I couldn’t move into the private place because I didn’t have a paid job, so I’ve ended up in the nightshelter.”

He continued: “I was pretty down, I was excited that it was going well, the job was good and no drugs as I had my methadone.

“I was so happy where I was going, but I was depressed in the beginning [of the lockdown].

“At the moment I am unemployed, I am looking for jobs. It was a big thing for me – everything had started to get better.”

Along with his fellow residents Gianluca is able to stay on site 24 hours a day under the new adapted service which enables residents to stay at home as directed.

Speaking about giving a purpose to each day, he said: “I try to keep busy, I try to do something here or sport or cleaning.”

He has also been hearing tales from his family and friends already in isolation in northern Italy near the worst affected area, Lombardy.

“Italy has been more strict, recently they started to go to work after two months of being shut down in lockdown.

“Now they can go in their cars but still they have to wear gloves and masks.”

Gianluca said that no one in his family contracted coronavirus, or knew anyone who was diagnosed.

The lockdown has put a strain on his relationship with his girlfriend and children, but Gianluca pointed out that for once, it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, we are all affected. Yes, you maybe isolating in a mansion with a pool but money can’t get you out of this predicament. We are all in it together.

“I hope to get my job back, but I am still sending out applications which I am hopeful. I am not the kind of person to be on the dole. I want a job and hopefully when this is finished it should be pretty quick.”

Gianluca also says his goal after lockdown is to secure is own home.