Analysis of centralised and decentralised public by nau11061


									  Analysis of centralised and decentralised public interventions approaches and how it
                           affects services for homeless people.

                        Preben Brandt, project UDENFOR. Denmark

Definition of emergency homelessness:

The word homelessness is not used in the Danish legislation. But certainly in the Danish
NAPincl. In our Social Service Law we talk about people with severe and comprehensive
social problems. If such a person loose his or hers home or of another reason cannot use it,
the local government is obliged to offer “housing”. In the principle nobody can be denied
access to a shelter. There must be a bed for all in need. And whatever drug-addict, alcohol-
addict, mentally ill, man or woman, 19 years old or 70.

The approach toward social emergency in shelters

The shelters – around 90 in number – are spread over Denmark and have in all 2200 beds.
They are both for long staying and for emergency. 25% of them are founded by NGO’s but
the local government finance all by “financing agreements”. Half the cost for shelters is
refund to local government by the state.

The total cost for shelters will in 2006 be 658 mill. Dkr (90 mill. € or 60 mio UK pound) half
paid by state half by local authorities.
The price is 830 Dkr/bed/night (110 € and 75 UK pound).
Or the average cost pr users is 85.000 Dkr (11.000 € or 7500 UK pounds)
Every year around 8000 different people are using these beds. (Total population 5 mill.)
The cost has gone up every year by around 5%, nearly the double of the inflation - from
2005 to 2006 the rise is 10%.
The rise in cost price mostly comes from an increasing salary-cost due to a growing
professionalism among the staff.
During the last 10 years there have been no decrease in number of beds.

The approach toward social emergency in street homelessness

The phenomenon “rough sleepers” has been totally neglected by local and state authorities
in many years.
No public service has been offered before 1996 in Århus and 2003 in Copenhagen.
Before that neither NGO’s were focusing this problem. To be honest I am the only one
concerned about this. Going out as a solo volunteer since 1989 and in the NGO (financed by
state) project UDENFOR (founded by me) since 1997.

We don’t know how many people are rough sleepers (of cause I have an idea: 200 – 300 in
Cph and 100 more in the rest of the country).
But we all know it must be a growing number, because the phenomenon is more and more
visible. It is not due to lack of beds in shelters!

The situation is bad for people sleeping rough. Many are severe mentally ill. New groups
are coming up (illegal refugees??). What I never had expected happen one year ago. Due to
bad coordination an unwillingness to co-work a 50 years old Finnish man died in the street
due to severe physical illness.

Partnership / relation between public authorities and NGO’s in emergency service provision.

Money is power, I think. All money (or at least 95%) for social services to homeless people
comes from state and local government. Also the money to NGO’s. The public pays the
NGO to do some of the job.
This has its good and its bad sides:
Good: There is money to provide services
Bad: It can be difficult to talk about partnership, because one part has the power to take

In the 3 largest cities in Denmark the public want to be responsible for street-work and
going out meeting the rough sleepers. They don’t want to finance NGO’s to do this and
they don’t want to co-work. Why? I don’t know. But I know that the service provided is
poor organised, Have no ideology. No well-defined method. No strategy.

I have for 8 years been doing street-work in Copenhagen and been used as adviser for other
cities. I have developed working-methods and strategies and I can tell that I don’t agree
with the English very strict, coercive and suppressive methods – see the booklet “The
Mobile café” – but nevertheless I would like that the politicians in the bigger municipalities
in Denmark would be more affected and more interested in doing something more effective
to at least try to reduce the number of people living without a home.

And to finish this in a more kindly way: during the last 5 years the state using economical
support and legislation have done a lot to support homeless people themselves to organize
and be involved not only in decision concerning the single individual but also on a
structural local level and on the political state level.


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