What the Danish People Think of Homelessness

Sidste nyt

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Late in 2015, Rådet for Socialt Udsatte (Council of Socially Vulnerable People) published a survey of the Danish people’s attitude towards socially vulnerable citizens.

The survey was carried out by the consultancy company Epinion, who has asked 1,013 representatively selected Danes about their knowledge of and attitude towards socially vulnerable people. Homeless people are one of the subgroups of socially vulnerable people included in the survey, however briefly. Can you derive anything out of this?

It is a bit frightening that nearly every fifth believe that people are in social need because they are lazy and lack willpower. A large majority, however, believes that social need is due to bad luck of the individual or injustice in the society.

When it comes to who is primarily responsible for helping a homeless to get out of homelessness, almost a third of us will point out that the homeless individual has the responsibility, whereas more than a third feels that the public system bears the responsibility. The last third points at family, friends and private organisations.

Finally, the survey asked what people thinks will be have the most impact on reducing the number of homeless people in Denmark. A third of us believes that improved social initiatives will do the trick, i.e. social support and counselling and another third points out improved social initiatives towards vulnerable families in general.

Luckily the majority of us have understood that unfortunate incidents in the life of the individual and certain circumstances in the society is the cause of homelessness and therefore also sees better social initiatives as the solution.

But, on the other hand, too many of us just place the reason for homelessness and the responsibility for changes on to the people, who have become homeless. We are afraid that many politicians both on country and local level share this point of view.

When comparing the answers to the professional and scientific knowledge in the field, we believe that you have to face that more information and debate on homelessness and how it is alleviated is needed.

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