We all agree that Denmark has one of the best welfare system of the world, right?
Well, I can say that about homelessness, the Danes are still far from perfection. Why?
Read to know!
Pax is not the only one sleeping rough in Copenhagen, as I always wandered around, I have many friends sleeping rough and sometimes, I am a bit homeless myself, that’s why the issue of shelters is quite close to my heart.
I decided to see how easy it is, for a homeless, to find shelter in Copenhagen, the world’s capital of “support to less lucky people”. It took me months to gather some information about shelters here, I have contacted all the people I knew, institutions, organizations, and churches. I have also checked the list of shelters on the dedicated website CopenHelp.
The most shelters just allow people with a cpr number—a registration number you get when you register your domicile in Denmark—or from specific categories: old and sick people, pregnant women, heavy drug users, etc…
I’ve contacted many shelters, just few answered, I post you some of the answers below.
(Frederiksborggade 1 A, 1360 København)
They just help people aged between 18-29.
“We are a contact place for young homeless people in Copenhagen between the ages of 18-29. We can help you get in touch with proper authorities for solving dole money problems, getting on waiting lists for shelters, medical help, give you directions to other places that have specialised in helping non Danish citizens etc….if you are not a Danish citizen we can also help you get in touch the Copenhagen homeless unit to discuss your travel home and help you with getting id papers and so on for your travels. You are very welcome to come in for a cup of coffee and we can see how we can help you the best way possible”
(Stengade 40, 2200 København N)
I send them an email asking if is possible to have shelter on 10/01/2017.
“we offer adults vulnerable citizens shelter. However, I have to know a little more of your background story before we can offer you a room for the night. You are always welcome to contact us at Hillerødgade 62 9 PM for a clarification of your situation.Natcaféen has 30 spaces intended for adult men and women who do not currently be accommodated in a residential facility.It is possible to bring your dog. The café is housed in the inn’s cafeteria and is open all year. It is free to spend the night in the cafe. Natcaféen operated acc. Service Law § 110”
Once I went to visit them, I had no place to sleep myself and I asked if it was possible to sleep there without danish documents, they told me just old and sick people, selected by them, can get inside.
(Baggesensgade 9, 2200 København N)
I have heard this to be the best shelter of Copenhagen, where they are really open and kind to anyone, regardless their documents.
Once I arrived there on a Friday night, the door was closed and nobody answered me at the phone.
I wanted to check out also Natcafeen Sundholm (Sundholmsvej 36) &
Nødherberget (Hørhusvej 5), but I didn’t have the chance to get there.
I always had a computer, good skills to search and communicate, I have friends and family that supports me, in addition, I have some financial resources, and fortuitously, I also have EU citizenship; nevertheless, after arduous and complex researches, I have no clue about where a homeless can go to sleep in Copenhagen.
I don’t even imagine how hard it is for someone that sleeps in the streets, with heavy physical, psychological, social, and economical problems, to find a place where to go.
If you are a homeless in need of care, you wont get much support when you don’t match the criteria of the shelter.
If you are not local or between 29-50yo, you risk to get not support at all.
What do you think when you see a person sleeping in the street?
Do you think it’s fair to leave people sleeping under bridges?
Let me know in the comments.
11 thoughts on “Shocking discovery: no shelters for the homeless in Copenhagen!”
The website http://www.copenhelp.dk lists all shelters and says whether you need a CPR number. A lot of them say no Danish Id required. The site is in English. I know for sure that the women’s shelter, Cafe Klare does not require Danish ID nor Danish language skills.
I have checked myself all the shelter in that list, they didn´t help.
To be fair some of them did offer the support they could as you quoted in the post. There seems to perhaps be a story here (I am a freelance writer based in CPH) so I will make some calls on Monday and see what I can find as well. I do know that the women’s shelter will never turn people away even if they are full. Women on the street are a lot more vulnerable than men so that makes sense and also you don’t fall into the correct category for that shelter. I know a homeless man and he didn’t like using the shelters as he wasn’t a drinker or drug user and he found that there was often tension in some of the places. Plus he had his trousers and shoes stolen in one place whilst he was showering and using the laundry. I often see and give support in cash or food and drink to homeless folk on the trains so I may ask one of those guys (I am speak Danish). Last night at about 11.30pm there were a few on the trains asking for money. I didn’t have any change but the remains of some buffet food from an event I’d organised so I gave that to one of them and he was very happy (but maybe less so when he found the stilton cheese as it is something of an acquired taste!).
If the man your interviewed had lived here for a year with a job and an address he could have been eligible for a CPR number with the correct documentation from the US. If you are resident for more than 3 months you need to get a CPR number by law. Once you have one it is always yours even when you leave to live somewhere else (you suspend it) or are no longer at an address ie homeless. Your article is interesting but has some missed areas. I will be happy to share what I unearth and perhaps you might like to share that as well with your readers for another take on the story.
Dejlige, it´s so amazing and virtuous what you do. I am so happy that You have awareness of the problem.
I am not sure if you have seen the video of Pax: he was searching for a shelter since long time and he could not find any.
For me it´s quite clear: I was trying to find a shelter and I could not find any. Someone more vulnerable (and more troubled) than me could have had more troubles to find a shelter.
Getting a yellow card is indeed very very difficult these days if u don’t have a stable job in Denmark (The wall is built to control immigration flow) as an American It’s even twice as hard, almost no chance cause you have no rights in EU (My friend in Copenhagen was American and he left so I know) Finding an unskilled jobs can be really troublesome also as a foreigner without knowing Danish. It’s a closed society and very few foreigner homeless can really make it in there. In a long term without a proper plan or working skill in demand (High positions) It is an massive struggle. You will have 5 times easier times to find a full time job in Finland as a Foreigner. In terms of being homeless (Without Yellow card) I would say It goes like this Finland > Denmark > Norway > Sweden. (Sweden is the most unfriendly Country in Scandinavia when it comes down to Homeless > They do love their refugees with the Stockholm Syndrome though)
It is rather difficult to be homeless as a foreigner in Copenhagen but certainly not impossible. (been there done that) If you are local, born there and still can’t manage life it’s another story. It is a paradise for a Danish Homeless compere to many other countries. Many local homeless simply do not have proper plan for the future. If you work as a homeless and get social welfare you can live live better then some guys working in full time jobs.
Immigration flow as Immigration rights to leech or overwhelm the social welfare and really puts people on the knees who really do have mental problems are in need of help to get back on tracks. Danish bureaucracy is really annoying these days. You will be systematically shut down (Doors closed to migrants) in Denmark if you don’t know your way around. It’s built that way to keep the foreigners and the social welfare in check. I personally do not recommend anybody to stay in Denmark unless you have a very clear vision how you can make it there. I struggled a lot before I found myself a place to stay. It became really hard eventually but I got really lucky in the end and found a place to live.
Good luck & But don’t expect the Miracles.
There are a very few decent homeless shelters in Copenhagen but they all require CPR. Or You have to be person from a Nordic Country. I am not sure how the homeless situation is right now in Finland but I heard it’s better. In old days they had churches and basketball rooms for homeless but only from Winter till May. Then everyone without a permit to live in Finland where thrown out on the streets. In Copenhagen you can go to the shelter every season but many of them that does not require CPR are full by Romanians, Blacks and some Slavs from Poland and a hand full from Baltic States.
Other than that, there are much more homeless shelters around Copenhagen or near by (train) then just a few mentioned here. You have to do the research and there are lists available Shelters by address in Food organizations or on Internet.
It is true. It is not easy for a person even with children under 18 to Get help. I lost my home in 2018. My kids were under 18. We were rejected from all the places that you can contact in such a situation. And we are even born here – Danish citizens. “Kommunerne” – are entitled to make an individual desicion in some cases – unfortunately – without consequenses. Womens shelters DO reject women with children because you do not fit in in a certain law section or they tell you that you ate not “bad” enough to receive help. I know everything about this. They make a lot of mistakes and some of them really do not care as long as it does not affect themselves. People on the streets do not give up at day one. They fight a lot and get rejected over and over again and judged by people who might not last long themselves in a similiar situation. To much lack of conscience about why people are stuck as homeless in them who are supposed to help. A situation where the vulnerability, insecurity and energyloss is exploited for own personal reasons. That is our wellfare system in Denmark. Shamefull.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
We are in 2020, most of the people are well educated and ´digitalized´ and still, many of these ´digitalized educated´ people are unaware of the issue.
I was talking with my sister a while ago, she is a teacher, she told me that in her eyes, all homeless deserve to be like that, that they don´t want to have a house, and that there are
I felt helpless, almost sisterless.