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Denmark: Tackling homelessness the Odense way


Denmark

Denmark: Tackling homelessness the Odense way

Denmark is battling homelessness.

Between 2009 and 2013, the northern European country saw a 16 percent rise in the number of people lacking permanent housing.

But one Danish town has tackled the problem head on. In the same four-year period, Odense has managed to reduce the number of homeless people by 47 percent.

The municipality organised a conference for social workers from eight other European countries to explain the secret of its success.

Tom RØnning, a housing consultant in the town, outlined some key areas to tackle.

“Logically, the main thing is to get a cheap and good home, and also to make sure we separate drug abusers,” he said.

“We need to make sure they’re spread out, which is what has been successful here in Odense, in contrast to many other places.”

Jimmy Schramm benefitted from the scheme after spending two years in prison. He says the assistance he’s received should help him to wean himself off drugs.

“I have been a drug abuser for 19 years, so now is the moment to stop, so I don’t destroy my life any further,” he said.

“I’m only 34 years old, so I have plenty of time left. At least, I hope so.”

The hope is that other European countries will have similar success with the scheme.

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