Politicians are often accused of straying from their constituents and forgetting who they represent once they reach the high-end of the policy-making spectrum.
But it would probably be a challenge to charge Torsten Gejl of doing so following the revelation that the Alternativet party MP has decided to take a week-long ‘internship’ as a homeless person in Aarhus this week.
“The goal is to become more aware of what we can do to better in our efforts to see more homeless Danes find their footing again,” Gejl wrote on Facebook.
Gejl stated that over the past four years he has seen how Parliament has earmarked millions in resources to alleviate homelessness, only to see the problem compounded – and in some places, such as Aarhus, explosively so.
Tonight he will be staying in a camper in Skrænten, a temporary homeless shelter area in Aarhus that acts as a kind of transition place for those trying to move away from a life on the streets.
Later in the week he will be sleeping at a shelter, as well as on the streets and other places, to bring him into close contact with the homeless and their experiences.
“I need to gain some knowledge to hear what works. And to do this, it’s often best to speak with those affected: the homeless themselves and the people who help them on the streets and in the shelters.”
Figures from late last year revealed that there has been a 50 percent increase in young people living on the streets since 2009.