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Immigrant homelessness on the rise in Sweden

Immigrant homelessness on the rise in Sweden

Published: 10 Jan 2012 11:56 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Jan 2012 11:56 GMT+01:00

While there are fewer people sleeping rough in Sweden today, the total number of people in emergency housing or not qualifying on the ordinary housing market is rising, with those born outside of Sweden overrepresented among the homeless, according to fresh figures from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

"It shows that the government’s strategies to combat homelessness have had no effect and haven't changed the situation for these people,” said Marika Markovits, head of Swedish charity Stockholms Stadsmission to news agency TT.

Out of the 34,000 or so people that are homeless or of cut off from the housing market in Sweden today, about 4,500 were facing "housing emergencies" such as imminent eviction.

In addition, 5,600 were residing in some sort of government institution; 13,900 were living in a half-way home, and 6,800 had managed to secure some sort of short-term accommodation, according to the agency.

However, despite the total number of people challenged with some form of homelessness rising, the study also shows that the number of people actively living on the streets has decreased dramatically in the last five years.

In 2005, there were some 950 people living on the Swedish streets, and in 2011 the corresponding number was 280.

One of the changes from 2005 is also that drug abuse and mental illness has decreased among the overall homeless population of Sweden. At the same time, the number of people originating from outside Sweden has grown.

In total, the study showed that 34 percent of the overall homeless population, some 10,900 people, were born outside of Sweden.

Some 40 percent of these were women and 60 percent were men.

A third of these came from other European countries. The second largest group originated in the Middle East and the third largest in Africa.

The largest share of those from outside of Sweden who have no permanent address, (37 percent) were living in emergency housing or half-way homes of some description.

The next largest group had managed to rent a room or a short term let (24 percent).

An additional 7 percent of homeless non-Swedes were reportedly in prison, while 1 percent were sleeping rough on the streets.

Compared to the whole study, the foreign born also stands out from the rest by having a higher number living in hostels, cheap hotels and in emergency housing.

Many are also parents of children under 18.

The most common reason for homelessness among those born outside of Sweden was failure to qualify on the ordinary housing market, which was the only reason that a quarter of the foreign homeless stated as the reason for their predicament.

The study showed that there are homeless people in all Swedish counties and that 280 of Sweden's 290 municipalities reported having homeless people.

The highest numbers of homeless people in Sweden were found in the three largest cities; Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:39 January 10, 2012 by rybo1
All that I can say is thank you America for screwing up the world economy.
12:51 January 10, 2012 by occassional
Stem the flow if you can't accommodate them.
13:14 January 10, 2012 by Abe L
I'm not sure what the purpose of this article is, this makes perfect sense. In order to pay for living and a roof over your head you need a job. In order to get a job you need to bring skills to the table and either speak Swedish or English. If you do not have any skills or speak either language and not unlikely have a bad track record then you do no get a job and hence can't afford a roof over your head.

Finding them mostly in the largest cities is because that is where the highest concentration of people is found and where it's most likely to survive living on the streets.

The one piece of information that could have been relevant is elaboration on the decreasing number of homeless people. Did they manage to secure a job and participate in society or are they kept of the street with taxpayer money?
13:20 January 10, 2012 by RobinHood
Of the 34 000 people described as "homeless", only 280 don't actually have somewhere to stay.

280 on the streets seems a remarkably low number for a country with a population of 9 million. That's an average of one per municipality.

In Sweden, words like homeless and poverty don't mean the same thing they do elsewhere.
13:39 January 10, 2012 by byke
Near where we live in stockholm is a charity which is for drug addicts, homeless people drunks etc to meet up and have a wash etc. They are not allowed to take drugs etc into the place, so jack up and deal right outside the gate with no consiquences. The police do nothing about it and this has only got worse since other places have closed down ..... Thus forcing all the cities criminal elements to congregate to one part of town. I have seen multiple crimes from such, but the police don't want to know and blame the charity for not looking after their members ... And the charity blame everyone else for not wanting the dangers assosiated with having these type of criminals in their area.

So now the adolf fredrick church grounds seems to have become a safe haven for the promotion of drug dealing, violence and criminal activity. While the families that live near by have to live with the constant danger to themselves and their children by strung out and often violent drug addicts or drunks.

I don't care who is responsible for such, but when public servants (aka the police) refuse to enforce the law. It makes you wonder what type of corrupt country we live in.
13:41 January 10, 2012 by star10
We the immigrants are endangered species in Stockholm:) Protection pleeeeaaaase!!!
13:58 January 10, 2012 by lovedealer76
@star10

Relocate to another city,don't you think Stockholm is over populated?that's why no one care's and don't expect it to change anytime soon
14:15 January 10, 2012 by hipersons1
How exactly do they define "qualifying"? Enough money? Enough queue days? Too much discrimination? ????
15:08 January 10, 2012 by DAVID T
wouldn't they be better off going to their homeland?
17:28 January 10, 2012 by DeadPrez
the article states that

"the study showed that 34 percent of the overall homeless population, some 10,900 people, were born outside of Sweden"

with a higher percentage of swedes homeless (66% or almost twice), why is the issue framed as an immigrants one???
19:34 January 10, 2012 by Coaxen
@DAVID T: Imagine that there are places worse than the streets of Sweden. There are countries in Europe where a doctor earns less money than a cleaning lady in the rich north.
23:40 January 10, 2012 by Dimukas
@DAVID T and Coaxen

it is not easy to move to homeland - lost of connection and possibilities in homeland. Doctor also spends less in a such a countries,
02:15 January 11, 2012 by nar klockan klamtar
Perhaps the kind hearts who are so keen on immigration in Sweden would be pleased to take in and offer a room to a homeless immigrantt. Any offers, No? I thought perhaps not!!!
02:29 January 11, 2012 by Chickybee
Time to say no.
07:56 January 11, 2012 by isenhand
"While there are fewer people sleeping rough". Interesting, I wonder what data lies behind that? We should see more homeless people as a per cent of pop as we should see an increase in poverty.
08:28 January 11, 2012 by RobinHood
@Isenhand

I struggled with the same discrepancy too. It seems, despite what we are told, poverty and homelessness in Sweden is actually decreasing - not increasing. There are agencies that will tell us the opposite (the Local does its best), but generally they have a vested interest in making us believe that. However, it beggars belief that a country with some of most generous benefits in the world has a significant poverty and homeless problem.

Of course, if you pervert the definition of the words poverty and homeless to a point where they are unrecognisable to the truly poor and homeless, you will get a statistical result. But if you interpret those words in the traditional way, there are only 280 people living on the streets of Sweden today, and no one at all who lives here legally, and receives amongst the most generous benefits in the world, can legitimately describe themselves as poor.
09:40 January 11, 2012 by Robert69
What's the problem? This is schengen, this is EU.

All EU migrants from background countries in Southern and Eastern europe have a right to come here and live like homesless people without being deported.
10:12 January 11, 2012 by Egbg
I think that the purpose of the article is just to show the statistics. What is true is that is very hard to get a contract if you don't have a job. For some people sounds illogical but for me was very hard to get one. Illogical because I came to study for two years with my wife and daughters and of course I have the money to live here but when you apply for apartments without a fixed income no one will rent you an apartment. Luckily my Uni helped me and I got a small apartment but since then i'm looking for sth. bigger (we're 2 adults and 2 kids in 37 sqm) and I can't get anynthing
11:01 January 11, 2012 by tadetlungt
These people can be accommodated to the low populated areas in Sweden while forcing them to stay there for at least next 5 years. Living in remote areas is much better than being homeless I guess.
11:30 January 11, 2012 by Marc the Texan
Some people prefer to sleep rough.
13:35 January 11, 2012 by Achilles7
Why, then, has Sweden let into this country so many homeless, jobless immigrants? Surely that can only be detrimental to society.
18:23 January 11, 2012 by efm
Only 34% of the homeless were born outside Sweden, according to this article, thus 66% were Swedish born or Swedish originated or cultivated- but it is preposterous how much

anti immigrant statement automatically come out here.

There are many causes of homelessness and some are partly due to prsonality or mental illness or conditions. Of course the poorest can be immigrants, as well, and can be homeless.

Try to Look at Miami or any other big US cities.
08:55 January 12, 2012 by isenhand
@RobinHood

If I get time I will try and find the original data. We should see increase in poverty, homelessness, violence, drug abuse and domestic problems as well as an increase in the wealth gap. If any one of those stats goes in the opposition direction it become interesting to see why.

BTW, poverty is relative.
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