Street-based work


The purpose of the outreach and outgoing street work is to provide practical, social street work to the most vulnerable people in Copenhagen, including mentally ill homeless. Support, contact, and care are provided at different times of the day, handled by three employees and one intern. It has been a core activity of projekt UDENFOR since its beginning in 1997, and it will remain so as long as the established system is unable to take over.


The street-level work can be divided in two aspects: outreach and outgoing work. Outreach work is about seeking out, finding and connecting with people who are often very reluctant to get in touch. As for outgoing activities, they consist in maintaining contact with the individual and meeting at specific times, for instance over a cup of coffee.


The target audience is people who in one way or another have completely slipped out of the system or have lost their network. The outreach street work is aimed at people who, in addition to being mentally ill, live and sleep on the street year round because of their mental illness. They often have no significant drug or alcohol abuse. Many of them have no social network and are therefore very lonely and deeply isolated. Most have no disease recognition, and the mentally ill homeless are seldom offered services such as nursing by the public system. They also have lost confidence in society and the system and have poor contact with it, if any.


According to our estimations, there is a constant figure of at least 50 people living on the streets of Copenhagen who fit this description. But each individual has their own specificities, and mental illness is reflected in different ways.


The outreach street work is based on the needs the individual expresses, which in turn helps to create trustful, close and frequent contacts between the homeless and the street-level employee. Showing care by offering a cup of coffee, a meal or a new jacket is a good tool to work with the homeless. It is fundamental for us to consider the needs of each individual and not to act according to strategies and plans. The street workers document their work through their journal, writing the contact they have with homeless people and the support they give. Employees discuss and reflect continuously about the moral and ethical dilemmas they face at work. At projekt UDENFOR, we highly consider the importance of respecting the individuals and ensuring their dignity.

In order to provide the right help for the individual homeless people, it is necessary to collaborate across systems. Projekt UDENFOR cooperates with the public system and with other non-governmental organizations in Copenhagen, in other Danish cities as well and even out of Denmark. Some of the mentally ill homeless street level employees meet on the streets are not Danish citizens, which is why it sometimes becomes relevant to cooperate across national borders. Occasionally, we are also informed by people outside of projekt UDENFOR when they see a mentally ill homeless. These warnings are important as they allow us to care for people we may not have seen otherwise.






New report

The Erasmus+ project "Dignity and Well-Being - exchange for change" analyses how to ensure better quality in efforts to help homeless people with with mental health problems. Project UDENFOR has participated in the project together with other European countries. The final report is written in the form of a manual. Read it here.

I shall never quite understand what it is like to live on the street

"I have more than eight years of experience from working with people who suffer homelessness. I have established countless relations, listened to endless numbers of life stories and often from the sidelines watched a merciless downfall from alcohol and substance abuse. I have followed several persons during their later years and have buried a few. But despite the harsh insight it still doesn´t give me the right to say that I know what life as a homeless person is like." Justine Mitchell, manager at Hug & Food

Most Danes are comfortable around homeless people

The Danish Council of Socially Marginalized People has asked the research company Epinion to enquire about the attitude of Danes towards socially marginalized people. Let's have a closer look at the attitudes expressed towards homeless people.

The media should concentrate less on the personal stories

Råbin Bille is 19 years old and has just received housing placement after almost three years in the streets. She has been in touch with the media several times, while homeless. Here she shares her experience:

People know that it’s cold to sleep outside in January – but there’s a lot they don’t know. Why don’t they ask about that?

Kåre lives at a shelter after having lived on the street for 3 years. Project UDENFOR met up with him to talk about the media and homeless people.


The national survey of homelessness in Denmark 2017 is disappointing to reading, because homelessness in Denmark is continuously rising. According to the report, published on September 1st 2017 by The Danish Center of Applied Social Science, the number...

Diversity in the Media

"A new way of thinking and a change of habits are needed among those who decide what the media run and how they do it"

a home outside – exhibition at aros

In August around 12 young homeless people are participating in the art project A home OUTSIDE, which is a collaborative project between projekt UDENFOR, the artists Jens Haaning and Mikkel Carl and the museum ARoS in Aarhus. The project consists of...

An increasing number of women are rendered homeless

The national survey on homelessness in Denmark 2017 from VIVE (The Danish Centre for Applied Social Science) shows a continued growth of homelessness among women. After some years of a stable count of round 22% the proportion of women has, in the...


projekt UDENFOR welcomes FEANTSA’s magazine ’LGBTIQ Homelessness’. The initiative offers sound research insights and a number of references that can be used for praxis within or further study of an area which is fortunately becoming more and more visible. Read more and download the magazine here.

FEANTSA sætter fokus på LGBTIQA+ og hjemløshed i Europa

projekt UDENFOR hilser FEANTSAs nyeste magasin velkommen. Her er vigtig viden og en mængde referencer til praksis og undersøgelser på et område, som heldigvis nu er på vej ud af sin skyggetilværelse. Du kan læse mere og hente magasinet her.

Are there any homeless children in Denmark?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The national mapping of homeless people in Denmark in 2017 shows that there were at least 39 homeless children under the age of 18 in week 6 in 2017.

20 Social Workers Out on the Streets to Count Rough Sleepers

Most Copenhageners had already gone to bed, unfazed by the sound of the steady rain falling outside, when 20 social workers trailed through the streets of Copenhagen at around 01 a.m. on September 7. Each social worker was armed with a map of a specific area, out to locate people sleeping on the street and help create an overview of the number of rough sleepers in Copenhagen at present.

The new Danish national survey of homelessness and homeless people sleeping rough

Some homeless people, thankfully only a small number, sleep on the street, exposed to the elements. It is this group, so-called rough sleepers, and specifically those who struggle with mental illness, whom projekt UDENFOR has worked to help for over twenty years. Considering the charity has been operating for all these years, it is a pill all the more difficult to swallow that not only are there still people sleeping rough, but that the number is growing.

Homeless People in Aarhus Deserve Longlasting Solutions

Aarhus is to be a city where there is room for everybody – high and low, rich and poor. Otherwise we stake the community that helps us all obtain the sense of security, solidarity and unity immensely important for our common good.

Homeless migrants need help – not harassment and victimization

During the spring of 2017, Project UDENFOR has noticed that an increasingly spiteful tone is being used towards migrants living in the streets of Copenhagen. Project UDENFOR does not deem it worthy of a welfare society to victimize and exclude the most vulnerable from city space. Let us meet them with understanding, inclusiveness and help.

Homeless migrants need help – not harassment and victimization

During the spring of 2017, Project UDENFOR has noticed that an increasingly spiteful tone is being used towards migrants living in the streets of Copenhagen. Project UDENFOR does not deem it worthy of a welfare society to victimize and exclude the most vulnerable from city space. Let us meet them with understanding, inclusiveness and help.

The Homeless Youth Situation in the United States

Youth homelessness is not an isolated issue but rather a systematic societal problem - sources estimate that between 500,000 and 2.8 million youth are homeless within the United States each year.

Women who are exposed to violence risk becoming homeless

Homelessness is often the result of an interplay between several factors, of which violence is just one of many risk factors. Violence multiplies a woman's risk of falling into homelessness because violence typically starts a chain reaction in many other areas of life, which may lead to exclusion and homelessness.

Report on Homeless Migrants in Copenhagen

Homeless migrants have few rights, just as this is a group of homeless people about which very little documented knowledge exists. This report describes the experiences Fonden projekt UDENFOR has had in relation to homeless migrants, som that – hopefully – it can contribute to qualifying the future social work.

Buy the Poster from the Seminar on Homeless Women

Many people have asked us whether it is possible to buy the poster from the seminar on 12th May: ’Women on the Bottom of Denmark - When Vulnerability has a Gender’. Now you can purchase the poster in A3 size (30x42 cm) at DKK 50. Send a mail and...

A Sick Difference – About the Unhealthy Homelessness

In DR1’s documentary series on inequality within health, the focus is on the difference in the health of the rich and the poor,  as we have already reported,  we know a lot about the special conditions of the socially vulnerable people, who are also...

A Sick Difference – What to Do about the Inequality?

Presently, DR runs a series of documentaries about social inequality within health, showing the ever larger difference between rich and poor in Denmark. The poor people gets more ill and see their GP more than the rich people. The gulf between those who...

Homeless Reforms are Necessary

The government is planning political talks in the autumn of 2016 concerning a reform of the Service Act. As part of the regulation of significance to the homeless initiatives, we can only welcome reforms. Through the past seven years, where the extent...

Thoughts of a Street-based Worker

“In Denmark you choose being homeless” That is the view of many Danish people and is also what I often hear in my work on the streets. Self-imposed homelessness, neglect, substance abuse and mental issues are most people's answer to questions of...