Homeless Reforms are Necessary

Sidste nyt

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 and nature of the homeless area are well-documented, you can see that the lack of results within the efforts towards homeless calls for reforms.

The service act governs a very expensive and important area, the temporary housing for homeless. The three types of interim housing within the area of responsibility of the local authorities, offer residence for at least 3,000 people every night and cost more than 10 billion DKK annually, each sheltered residence costing practically the same per day. A few simple changes will give us for the money and permit us to offer better and more coherent help to the 15,000 persons, experiencing homelessness each year.

Presently, many homeless stay far too long at the care homes and shelters (§110) that first and foremost are intended for emergencies and short stays. Contrary to the long-term efforts, the States reimburse half the costs of immediate initiatives to the local councils. This means that the local council has no economic incentive to send homeless on to sheltered residence offering long-term and holistic initiatives (§107), because the local authorities are responsible for the entire payment of residence at the venues themselves.

This makes the long-term effort more difficult as the sheltered residences offering long-term stay (§107) offer a far better opportunity of stabilizing and training with a view to get an independent life. A majority of the people staying in care homes and shelters today should be offered residence here. Finally, the sheltered residences where it is possible to stay long-term or even permanently in good, independent housing are assembled in one (§108). Among these should be far more housing with the necessary resources to accommodate citizens suffering from both severe mental illness and substance abuse.

On the basis of this, projekt UDENFOR recommends that emergency shelters should be run by the local authorities without grants from the State. The unities should be smaller and less than the approximately 100 available today and the stay should be short. The economic incentive of keeping the large shelters and letting homeless stay long-term, would disappear if the local council held the responsibility of paying the entire bill.

Today’s situation is a bureaucratic, impractical and unsuitable mess of different housing which is anything but what is best for the homeless citizen governing where the homeless live and which help is offered on the way back to a normal life.

Reforms are more than needed.

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