Sweden’s housing obligation to asylum seekers means other vulnerable groups go without: report

Sweden's housing obligation to asylum seekers means other vulnerable groups go without: report
Sweden is battling a housing shortage. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
A new report by Sweden's county administrative boards warns that vulnerable groups are struggling to find housing because homes are being allocated to asylum seekers. But the country's housing minister insists that the real problem is municipalities not building enough.

In the report, which broadcaster SVT had access to, around 60 percent of Swedish municipalities said they had experienced a 'displacement effect' – where other vulnerable groups had a difficult time finding a home because of the right to housing for asylum seekers.

“As a consequence, others who need housing go without. We are not obliged to supply housing for them,” Thed Carlsson, head of social services in Hässleholm municipality, told SVT.

According to him the groups impacted are students, young people, and also people who have had to stay longer at treatment homes and institutions because there is no housing available.

The situation may get worse, as Sweden's municipalities and county councils estimate housing will need to be provided for around 100,000 people with residence permits over the next year.

Housing minister Peter Eriksson insists however that municipalities are attempting to shift the blame away from themselves.

“It's an incorrect description. Municipalities have a housing security responsibility to ensure that everyone has a home. Most are attended to in the right way,” he told news agency TT.

According to him there is a problem with some municipalities and public housing companies not building to a degree that would provide an excess of housing for the coming years:

“The housing shortage cannot be solved with a quick fix. It will take time to resolve the shortage that has been building up for 20 years”.

READ ALSO: The story of Sweden's housing crisis