How Denmark has helped its homeless young people

Topic Selected: Homelessness

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Our municipality now works with volunteers, housing specialists and social workers to give young homeless people all the support they need.

By Britta Martinsen, Head of Social Services for adults with special needs, Esbjerg

Since 2009, the national Danish strategy for tackling homelessness has been the housing first approach. We know it works – but it has not always worked well for our young people.

Housing first, which has also been used in Finland, involves substantial support from social care teams. We know from the figures we’ve collected that it works: of the 1,500 or so people in Denmark supported through the housing first scheme, nine out of ten have been able to keep their own home. Although we have seen an increase in homelessness in Denmark, the rise has been considerably lower in municipalities that have used the housing first approach compared with those that have not.


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