• Sweden's news in English

Homeless to 'skip' long rental queues in capital

Maddy Savage · 26 Mar 2015, 16:47

Published: 26 Mar 2015 16:47 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
Stockholm's Social Democrat-led City Council has announced that it wants to give more help to vulnerable people who have been unable to secure first hand rental contracts in the heart of the capital.
"This could be large families, homeless people, addicts," Green Party councillor and social affairs spokeswoman Ewa Larsson told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
She added that the move was designed to avoid concentrating these groups in social housing projects in the Stockholm suburbs.
"We'll take a greater responsibility, we want all locals to have an opportunity to stay in their city," added housing commissioner Ann-Margarethe Livh.
The move builds on previous projects run by SHIS, a private organisation contracted by Stockholm City Council which already provides seven-year contracts to disadvantaged groups.
Under the new plans, some homeless people will be given permanent accommodation in existing and new apartment complexes run by SHIS, which currently takes responsibility for 2,300 apartments in 22 locations around the city.
"We provide help for all kinds of people - young, old, families, people with addictions or debt problems, who live alongside other Swedes in our accommodations, bridging the gap between housing provided by social services and the regular housing market," SHIS spokesman Fredrik Jurdell told The Local.
"They pay the rent like everybody else, although sometimes that comes from benefits. What is different is that we have specially trained staff on hand, restaurants and reception areas - facilities that provide extra support for people who live there and makes the housing more acceptable to others in the neighbourhood," he added.
According to Jurdell, giving some residents permanent contracts will help "ease the pressure" on individuals and families currently "limited to seven years" of secure accommodation in Stockholm.
"We are talking about giving more stability to people who have really struggled. For example giving a seven-year contract to a 60 or 70-year-old addict who has spent ten years on the streets and putting him an apartment on his own out in the suburbs...well it would be better if they were among others in a place where they can get support."
But the move is a controversial one in a city where in some areas tax payers are facing a 20 year wait for rental accomodation. This has resulted in a strong subletting culture, with prices spiralling in recent years despite rules designed to cap rental increases.
However it is backed by Sweden's largest centre-right party, the Moderates, which led the previous government.
"We see it as a continuation of "housing first", a similar project the Alliance worked with during our mandate," it said in a statement emailed to The Local.
Asked if he understood complaints about the plans to give first-hand contracts to homeless residents, Jurdell told The Local: "It is a relevant question. I would say that our main task is still to act as a stopgap to help people before they can get back into the regular housing market. But for some groups they could spend years in the queue and still struggle to get a permanent contract because of their problems or because they don't have references, or because there are so few apartments available for very large families. So the changes will help with this."
The announcement by Stockholm City Council comes a day after Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven unveiled his national strategy for tackling the housing crisis, pledging that 150,000 new homes would be built each year from 2016, in a move designed to help both Swedish and international workers.
Story continues below…
"We have a major housing shortage in Sweden. Housing is a key part of the government's labour strategy," he told a press conference.
"A housing shortage is one of the biggest obstacles to growth, such that people cannot move wherever they want," he added.
While in many other European countries public housing is reserved for those on lower incomes, anyone can apply for this kind of accommodation in Sweden, which is usually maintained to a high standard. Both public and privately owned apartments are available to those who register with the city's housing service.
Around one in three Swedish adults lives in rented accommodation.
Most vulnerable adults in Stockholm are already offered some form of state-subsidised social housing, in line with national guidelines, but this is not always permanent and is often in suburbs outside the city centre.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Maddy Savage (maddy.savage@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission- free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Swedish terror suspect ‘planned airport attack’
Swedish terror suspect Osama Krayem. Photo: Facebook

Swedish national Osama Krayem, linked to the deadly attacks in Paris on November 13 and in Brussels on March 22, is now suspected of having plotted to attack also the Schiphol airport in the Netherlands.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available