Homeless anger at MPs’ sleeping bag charity

Homeless anger at MPs' sleeping bag charity
Stockholm homeless association demonstration, Housing for all, 2004
Stockholm's homeless have reacted in anger at a move by a group of members of parliament to launch a sleeping bag collection on their behalf, Expressen reports.

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.

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.

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