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Homeless need more help: Health minister

TT/Christine Demsteader · 30 Jan 2010, 12:53

Published: 30 Jan 2010 12:53 GMT+01:00

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Larsson, a Christian Democrat MP, wants the government to intensify work with homelessness in Sweden and contributory factors during the next term of office.

"A welfare state like Sweden should not have a homeless problem," said Larsson while presenting a new proposal at a Christian Democrat campaign event in Jönköping, central Sweden, on Saturday.

"Forty years ago we had no homeless people on the streets," she added.

Her suggestions include better representation by way of a national homeless coordinator whose job would be to support local authorities in developing strategies to get more people off the streets.

Larsson also proposed a sum of 50 million kronor ($6.76 million) to be earmarked towards local councils to help them set up the 'Property First' project.

The new initiative, recently introduced to Sweden, aims to help the homeless - often those with addiction problems - by first offering them a place to live and then organising help to address their physical and mental well-being.

Larsson stated that the method has reaped successful results in the US and gave a special mention to the cities of Malmö, Helsingborg och Stockholm for their work with the project.

She also proposes a review of legislation to make it illegal to evict children from their homes by 2012.

"For every child it's is a catastrophe not to have a home to go to," she said. ""That children are being evicted in our country is just completely unacceptable."

In 2007, the government introduced a new strategy for homelessness. At that time around 1,000 children a year were affected by evictions carried out by the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogden).

Those figures are reported to have halved in the last two years but Larsson says it's not enough.

Story continues below…

Legislation must be clearer so local authorities have a better understanding that children cannot be evicted from their home.

Larsson also proposes better cooperation between social services and Kronofogden in order that evictions can be more easily prevented.

"This is a matter of urgency," she said.

TT/Christine Demsteader (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:16 January 30, 2010 by Kaethar
They're never going to get rid of homelessness because of the simple fact that many of the homeless in Sweden are not Swedish citizens but foreigners (mostly from the EU) who don't fall under Swedish social protection laws.

As for the Swedish citizens as the article states they are mostly drug addicts. To get the right to state-sponsored residence in Sweden you have to agree to enter rehab to get rid of your addiction. Those who refuse are denied help, which apparently they want to change now. I don't know about everyone else but I don't particularly want to use my tax money to help those who won't help themselves. They CHOSE the drugs, and therefore CHOSE the homelessness.

As for those that become temporarily homeless through evictions I agree that measures need to be taken to ensure the children's best interests are at heart.
00:29 January 31, 2010 by Jackdempsey187
If you're homeless in Sweden, you're really doing something wrong.
03:29 January 31, 2010 by Davey-jo
I've got news for you in Sweden if you want to be homeless you will be homeless.

Some people do not do "home living". I can see their view; it's a drag to have to deal with all minor irritating chores that are involved with life in a home. So why bother? Just dump it all and live out of "normal" existence.

The fact that many "homeless" are also considered mentally "unstable" is perhaps a comment on who decides what is normal and what is not.
04:58 January 31, 2010 by randyt
"They CHOSE the drugs..." Now there is a statement from the Dark Ages. While it may well be true these folks made a choice the first time they used drugs - including alcohol - but addiction is a disease. And it has been shown that first getting these folks into a place to live, to call home, they will work on their addictions.

With regard to the issue in this article, children being homeless - they in no way chose homelessness.
06:08 January 31, 2010 by xenyasai
It is easy to become homeless. All you need is some bad luck and an almost non-existent support network.

I wonder how many of you who would hire a homeless person so they could get back on their feet?
10:14 January 31, 2010 by just a question
xenyasai, finally some common sense.

It's easy to become homeless. Bad luck, unemployment, no support network, no family, high prices of housing...

And it will be more easy in the future. So Sweden, be ready.
13:41 January 31, 2010 by Beynch
I agree that something should be done about the "homeless" problem in Sweden. We can't however blame society for every case of "homelessness". Many if not most cases are due to the "victim's" own deliberate, often criminal, missteps, and some blame must be placed at the feet of these so called "homeless". Yes, there is a legitimate case or two, but they are few. In the meantime I don't want to see this wretched refuse in our streets. They should be brought out of sight, out of mind. The authorites should scoop them up and make them go away.
16:52 January 31, 2010 by Liquidmonkey
help the homeless?!?!?!

sweden has LOADS of help with shelters, free food and so on.

not only that, but there is social welfare that helps you WELL BEFORE any sort of homelessness comes into the equation.

its called being good with your money. if your not, well, thats YOUR problem.

how about the homeless help themselves.

DON'T buy drugs

DON'T buy alcohol

DON'T gamble

3 simple rules almost guaranteed to prevent any future homelessness.

a fruit or drink (no alcohol) is what i give them and YES, i'd totally hire a homeless person if they TRULY wanted to get back on their feet.

often it is THEIR CHOICE which is fine, i suppose.

each to their own.
17:33 January 31, 2010 by morchad
agree with most of what people say here.....wherever you have addiction you have homelessness.

I believe its very rare that anyone becomes homeless due to bad luck and house prices etc.....it is almost always entirely self induced and in 99% of the cases involves drugs/alcohol and gambling (which I now see an enormous amount of here in Sweden)

I was lucky to only have been homeless for 5 days.... I took the help I was offered.
18:41 January 31, 2010 by Puffin
@ liquidmonkey

Perhaps you should add 'don't suffer from a mental illness or disability' to your list of 'don'ts' as it is estimated that 40% of the homeless in Sweden suffer from a mental disorder.
19:06 January 31, 2010 by Kaethar
@randyt: No, they made their choice. If they choose to get help for their addiction they get FREE rehab and FREE housing from the state along with free psychological help. If they choose the life as a druggie they get none of it.

@Puffin: That is the only valid criticism in this thread. It's true that because of closures of mental institutions in the past some half-crazy people were free to go and promptly were left out on the streets. These people should be in institutions and not in homeless shelters.
20:42 January 31, 2010 by skatty
If there is a general question about the reasons of homelessness, then alcohol and drug are not the only possible reasons but economy, joblessness and the lost of protection by social system are also included.

To measure the reason of homelessness can be important to realize the healthiness of social system and the malfunctioning of economical system. Because Sweden has been famous for its welfare, doesn't mean that its welfare work as it suppose to work, just by believing to the past history!
11:47 February 1, 2010 by Princess P
Domestic violence and child abuse also lead to homelessness.
22:57 February 1, 2010 by Alex Coman
Wow, although the problem is well known, still there are some people against those poor homeless. In order to become a homeless, a person must be psychologically vulnerable and, people, most of us have our moments of vulnerability. They need counseling and some of them, clinical treatment.
21:28 February 3, 2010 by speedygonzales
what a crazy comments! those who like more money than people, they should be sent to mental hospital. in any case, it is sad that people discuss about homeless instead that homeless say their words, why they are on the street. I am political homeless, it is not allowed for me to work, it is clear political decision and I can't change it.

I don't say that all homeless have the same reason why they are on the street, but one thing is sure: social service take big money from budget on the basis that homeless are on the street, social service don't give home, so they can take million years money from budget. let's give that money directly to homeless, and homeless will not be homeless anymore. + is there corruption? how they decide which project will get money from budget, and how much take part of it, under the table, people from social ministry?

Beside it, if homeless in Sweden don't get help, they will move to Denmark, in Denmark all get help, minimum 20 swedish homeless sleep during years in Copenahgen. All of them damn Sweden, especially 20-30 years old homeless. Why, if bureaucracy in Sweden is soooo good? In any case, as you see, Danish are much more solidary with poor people (with those from Denmark and Scandinavia, they don't like EastEuropeans) while in Sweden even Swedish homeless can't get help. Social workers in Sweden are like comments here: they don't care for people, they care how to keep money for for visky and votka for politicians. Sweden is country of egoists who don't help each other, who thinks that people will get help from the state. It is not the truth that homeless get food for free: in Malmo, there is place only for 20 people to sleep, I didn't check about food, but I saw under every small bridge in Malmo, there are homeless sleeping during winter (February 2006 and I believe today is the same). In Gothenburg, homeless need to sleep, he must buy mobile phone and SIM card to call every night to book place for sleeping, and food is not for free during the day, + there are not so many places to sleep and eat. Even one man from Finland visited social worker, he damned Sweden also, he sleeps in park, maybe 40 years old, high and big/strong man, if he has no job, I don't know who should have it. In Stockholm, social workers don't let anybody to sleep except Swedish, breakfast is free and lunch is 6 and 10 SEK. There is no dinner, dinner people get only if they get place to sleep. It means homeless must buy or steal. In any case, it is totally untrue that homeless are only junkies, that's stereotype which has goal to hide selfishness and egoism, lack of solidarity. result is: Swedish hate Sweden, Danish homeless like Denmark. In any case, if homeless don't get help, it increases criminality in society. you don't care for homeless, why homeless should care for you?
23:20 November 20, 2010 by Observing Consciousness
..and then all was silence...

'speedygonzales' proceeded to "set you up a glass Where you [all] may see the inmost part of you", and an embarrassed silence ensued:

"O 'speedygonzales'...Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained spots..."

'speedygonzales' sayeth:

"you don't care for homeless, why homeless should care for you? " - Brilliant!

This pithy emotional outburst is at the same time a starting and an ending point of all and any rational analyses of the problem. It all springs forth from an absence of CARE (Lat. caritas, Skt. karuna) - this is the original fault that breeds the troubles of/with the homeless people, and everything else that is wrong with human society.

Humans! So intelligent, so artistic, so humorous, so athletic, so subtle, so talented.. and yet, so despicable, due to this one essential defect, the inability to care!

"So oft it chances in .. men That through some vicious mole of nature in them .. Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason .. Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect .. Their virtues else - be they as pure as grace, Shall .. take corruption From that particular fault."

I have had a colorful life, have been well-off most of the time, but had a brush with homelessness on two occasions, the second just a few weeks ago. As it happened, I had my luggage stolen just before my flight to Stockholm, and so landed with no (access to my) money and even without proper winter clothing and shoes.

Being a well-travelled man in my forties I do not normally expect many more surprises in my life, but this year has managed to produce 2 so far: having had my luggage stolen was a minor one, but the second, delivered by Sweden, was more of a shock than a mere surprise.

During the 2 days it took me to sort out my problems I had to deal with Swedes that were slow and awkward in their response to my needs to the point of seeming paralytic, and their surreal and grotesque stinginess seemed so built-in as to stem from a genetic fault (viz. a lack of a 'generous' gene)!

When I am older I shall write an autobiography and I shall definitely be devoting quite a few paragraphs, if not a chapter, to these bizarre experiences.

Shame on you, Sweden. So brilliant in many ways, the Swedish people strike me as quite mentally ill in some ways. Perhaps you should put your powerful intellectual minds to work on deflecting some of the sun-light from the equatorial regions onto dark Scandinavia to improve your sickly hearts over a generation or two.

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