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Homeless anger at MPs' sleeping bag charity

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 3 Feb 2010, 08:06

Published: 03 Feb 2010 08:06 GMT+01:00

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The parliamentary Christian group has taken the initiative for the collection after a decision by St Clara church in Stockholm to open its doors to the city's homeless.

MPs have been urged to collect what they can in the way of sleeping bags and mattresses to donate to the church.

"It is a worthy cause for us MPs to help out with whatever we can," said Annelie Enochson of the Christian Democrats.

But the charitable move has not been met with a chorus of hallelujahs in all quarters with Rolf Nilsson, chairperson of the Stockholm homeless association (Stockholms hemlösa), expressing anger at the move.

"It shows an awful view of human beings - as if were not worth any more," he told the newspaper.

Nilsson has received the backing of Social Democratic MP Monica Green who argues that instead of sleeping bags and floor space in a church, the city's homeless should be offered the possibility of work and a proper home.

Story continues below…

According to Stockholm City Council and charitable groups there are between three and five thousand people classified as homeless in Stockholm.

According to a National Welfare Board (Socialstyrelsen) report from 2006, there are 17,800 homeless people across Sweden.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:59 February 3, 2010 by Luckystrike
" chairperson of the Stockholm homeless association " even a union for the homeless...lol

Nevermind the folks who are actually making an effort to get by, work and provide for themselves and their families...Give these homeless bums work and a proper home. Now!
09:24 February 3, 2010 by nollbit
Luckystrike: setting the fact that you're an idiot aside, homeless people are worth far more to society in a house and at a job than on the streets. They're worth the investment.
09:25 February 3, 2010 by Nemesis
Nilsson is right.

JJobs and homes are what would be best to offer the homeless and then they can stand on there own two feet.

They want dignity, not hand outs.
09:26 February 3, 2010 by xenyasai
If I were homeless in Sweden now, considering the cold temperatures, I would swallow my pride and gladly accept a sleeping bag to keep warm during night.

If you are down on your luck you should accept, or at least consider, any help given. Most of the time beggars can not be choosers.
09:32 February 3, 2010 by Luckystrike
There are jobs and welfare money available for the homeless....Give them a house, they'll destroy it. Give em a job, like a macdonalds, they wont show up.

Give them money. That's all they want.
10:10 February 3, 2010 by Nemesis
@ Luckystrike


Go out and talk to some of them. You will find you are very wrong.
11:11 February 3, 2010 by Beynch
Here's another example from the usual, predictable, bottom dwelling, lazy socialists, who want Society to take of their every need. To actually contribute and to do something useful does not enter into their SSU indoctrinated thought process. It is indeed significant that their banner is with white text on red background. 1:a maj anyone? Upp till kamp!
11:30 February 3, 2010 by Luckystrike
@ Nemesis

I have. Offered two homeless ladies a jersey and jacket and a few items of food from Coop. They got very offended and then continued to ask if they could just have the money....

Maybe they are not all the same...who knows.
12:56 February 3, 2010 by Frobobbles
If these are not high quality sleeping bags adapted for temperatures that sometimes go down to minus 30 c, people will die in the house of parliaments bags!
13:02 February 3, 2010 by Scepticion
I am sure there are hard-off homeless people. But clearly some seem to be long into a category that cannot really be helped by home and job, but seem to be more interested in money for booze or whatever.
14:39 February 3, 2010 by jannestig
There is a minority of bums who are worth the effort, the rest have either destroyed themselves through choices they made and are not worth the effort , compassion maybe but what work should they do, every1 who wants to give them a job should let these people clean their house, and i could guarantee they would soon change their minds after their houses got cleaned out.

The vast majoirty will never amount to anything beyond a frozen statue one winter morning,
14:44 February 3, 2010 by Nemesis
@ Luckystrike

Different reaction form what I had.

Sorry you had such a negative response.

Sounds like professional beggars masquerading as homeless. That is a big problem that also needs to be tackled.
15:08 February 3, 2010 by ruswe

I'm from Russia and amount of homeless people there is way bigger since the 90s and their level of life far worse! Therefore i can assure you that compare to Swedish level of life 95 % of Swedish homeless people are bums as a result of their bad choices and not unfortunate circumstances! You really need to try to end up this low in a country like Sweden. And even as bums they live way better then homeless people in 3 world countries!
15:21 February 3, 2010 by Audrian
There are are several reasons why people are homeless. (1) Some who suffere mental illness might end up being homeless (2) There are those who are temporarily homeless. When an industry scales down operation some become unemployed. Living from hand to mouth, a temporary halt in the flow of income makes them homeless. (3) There are those who are permanently homless. They could not find a job for an extended period of time and give up looking for job. After a while they loose confidence and keep themselves away from society.

Those who fall under 2, are desparate for jobs. Government should attempt to creat jobs for them before their status changes to category 3 and become a permanent problem. For those in category 1, government should increase their access to medical care. It is not enough to tell them that medical care for such patients is free. They are mental disturbed patients.
17:47 February 3, 2010 by jose_s
it's an awful thing to be down on your luck. but to live in a socialist country like sweden and still live in the streets just does not make sense. you either screwed up or got screwed royally. they should be grateful for getting a handout
18:09 February 3, 2010 by Henckel
The allegation by Conservatives in the USA is that 90 percent of homeless people should either be on drug rehab or a mental hospital. The contention is that only 10 percent of homeless in the USA are in that condition from economic causes.
18:27 February 3, 2010 by Puffin
I'm sure that when St. Clara's - the church next to parliament - asked for 'help with homelessnes' they were hoping for a little more from out well paid and fed politicians than six (yes 6) second hand sleeping bags.
21:05 February 3, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
From the article it sounds like the MP's were approached by the Church which is offering its halls as shelter but needs mattresses and sleeping bags.

The MP's are responding to an immediate need in a compassionate and caring way. How is this bad??

The Nilsson fellow is complaining about things that require planned, long term solutions.

The people St. Clara has opened its halls need shelter tonight. It is winter.

Biting the hand that is offering you survival is rude and foolish.

As my father taught me with those asking for help. Offer them a warm meal. If they are in need they will gratefully accept. If they are addicts or begging to make money they will reject your offer (ususally rudely). His advice is always been proven right by me.
22:59 February 3, 2010 by dizzymoe33
I will always offer food or the nearest homeless shelter or if they medical attention get them to the hospital but I will not give any money to a homeless person. I have given money twice and both times I was burned the men got up and got into a limosuen and drove away. Come to find out they were both wealthy men and they were just having fun seeing how many people they could get free money out of-isn't that just sickening? So no more money handouts only food and shelter. It may sound harsh but I won't be burned like that again.
01:16 February 4, 2010 by caitlinnor
I think this is a good point: "The people St. Clara has opened its halls need shelter tonight. It is winter." Of course there is long term planning to make sure people don't end up on the street, but for now it is winter and cold and as a church the right response was to open the doors to make sure people don't die on the street due to the cold, regardless of the politics involved.
09:01 February 4, 2010 by entry
No good deed goes unpunished.
15:39 February 4, 2010 by spongepaddy
Here we go again. As soon as anybody does ANYTHING with regard to homelessness in Stockholm you can be sure that Rolf Nilsson will stick his oar in and trash the idea.

"It shows an awful view of human beings - as if were not worth any more" - so nothing is worth doing except giving every single homeless person a free apartment and income? That's the ONLY thing that will satisfy Mr. Nilsson?

And note that Mr. Nilsson is an ex-homeless and HAS a place to sleep in the current snowstorm that covers Stockholm.
15:52 February 4, 2010 by mkvgtired
jannestig, Very well put. I have met some extremely level headed and intelligent homeless people. On the other hand the vast majority are only interested in money. My aunt's friend felt so bad she took 10 of her husband's expensive suits and handed them out to homeless people. She then gave them the address of her and her husband's company and told them to come in and she would give them a job. Out of 10 not one showed up.

On another occasion I was walking home from school a couple of years back. It was freezing cold. The same homeless guy sat (still sits) outside a pharmacy I pass. I felt especially bad for him because of the temperature so I bought him a meal at a local hot dog place. I walked up and told him I got him a meal and he said "dont you have any money". He got slightly pissed when I threw the food into the street. I have had similar things happen when I have tried to help homeless people. I am done trying. I will help at a soup kitchen or something similar, but I am done giving random people on the street the benefit of the doubt. 99.9% of them will refuse help and just ask for money.

DavidtheNorseman, "How is this bad?" Because they feel like they are entitled to a free apartment.
23:43 February 5, 2010 by Uncle
How... HOW can one become homeless in Sweden, for God's sake? If you lose your job and cannot find another job for long - you are whether a lazy bum who does not want to go to another city to dig ditches, on drugs, or sick. If you are sick, the pension from the gov't should be more than enough. If you are on drugs - blame yourself and do not bitch about improper giveaways.

Finally if you are a bum - what is the problem? Seriously - let's say you were a bum already as a kid and did not get any education - there is always Mcdonalds, factories, moving companies, cleaning services, post carriers - what not? There is always an option to move to Kiruna and dig in frozen soil. One can always go to Norway and work with fish.

I know a jobeless homeowner here who does not answer the phone because it may be job offers. She wants a VERY specific job with specific colleagues and walking distance from home. Otherwise she is just saying no to the offer. How pathetic is that? ANd I will not be surprised if she becomes homeless. I WILL be surprised if she will still filter giveaways and cry about her horrible faith.
23:06 February 8, 2010 by ajs42548
Here in NY it's the same. My wife offered to buy a meal for a girl that was begging for money so she "could buy food". She said that her boyfriend also needed food and the money would be better. My wife offered to buy both of them a meal (of course the "boyfriend" was nowhere in sight). The bottom line was that the girl refused the food and only wanted money. I saw this same girl in a different part of Manhattan again turning down the offer of food from another woman and only wanted money. Why can't these people live with relatives? I'm guessing they did at one point but were kicked out because of bad behavior or refusal to contribute anything (even helping out around the house) and the family got fed up.
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