FOUNDATIONS AND MUNICIPALITIES FIND NEW HOMES FOR HOMELESS YOUNG PEOPLE

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In a partnership between municipalities and foundations, 10-20% of the housing in private residence halls run by foundations are reserved for homeless young people. Twenty young people have been helped in the first year at an estimated socio-economic net gain of 106,000 Danish kroner per person due to savings on hostels and psychiatric and health measures.

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Currently, homelessness among young people in Denmark is heavily on the rise. In 2017 more than 2,000 young people aged 18 to 29 had nowhere to live. Due to the lack of municipal housing available for young people, new solutions are needed to a problem that continues to grow.

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Collectively, Danish foundations provide 4,030 college dwellings throughout Denmark. To put an end to youth homelessness, two foundations have so far opted to set aside 10-20% of residence halls for vulnerable young people with nowhere to live. Their efforts are part of the A Home for Everyone Alliance (Hjem til Alle Alliancen), which comprises 12 member organisations working to eliminate homelessness among young people in Denmark. This is the first time private residence halls are involved. To be considered the young person must be a student or planning to become one. The municipality then pledges to provide intensive support before, during and after moving into the residence hall. Municipalities refer young people deemed in need of assistance but are not authorised to assign them to a residence hall. Efforts are made to ensure that the young people become an integral part of life in the residence hall and the community, with various parties meeting regularly to address any challenges. The Bikuben Foundation has reserved 18 places at their residence halls in Odense and Copenhagen, while the Lauritzen Foundation has two spots available in Herlev. Aarhus Municipality’s care home for homeless young people and Østjysk Bolig have used a similar model to give about 20 young people a new home so far. If private residence halls join the endeavour, 400-800 new places to live can be created. An analysis shows that, in the first year, housing, combined with a housing allowance for nine months, yields a socio-economic net gain of 106,000 Danish kroner per citizen due to savings on hostels, crime fighting, psychiatric and health measures, and other municipal interventions.

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