The increasing number of foreign homeless people in Copenhagen is becoming a problem for the capital and its residents, according to the City Council.
Between 200 and 300 can be found every night in the capital’s streets and parks, and this has led to a spike in complaints from citizens who feel disturbed by the food, rubbish, clothing and human waste they leave behind.
“It generates increased amounts of waste and insecurity among some citizens,” Jesper Christensen, the city's deputy mayor for social issues, told Berlingske newspaper, adding that the backlash was making life even harder for foreign homeless people "marginalised because the path to work in Denmark is almost impossible for many of them and their futures here lack perspective".
"At the moment we have no way of rising to this challenge,” he conceded.
Council to seek a solution
The rising number of foreign homeless is largely due to EU free labour movement laws and its expansion to the east in 2004 and 2007, which has led to a steady stream of people from eastern Europe.
The issue has reached a head and the council intends to convene this week to find a solution to what is being described as a huge challenge for the city.
“You can’t completely solve the issue, but we can become better at helping the foreign homeless,” Christensen said.
“We hope to establish a transit program through which we can help them with medical aid, sleeping quarters and food and motivate them to go back home. Today, these efforts are incohesive.”