City Council calls on parliament to help foreign homeless

City lawmakers are putting themselves at odds with national politicians over whether to provide social services to non-resident homeless

The City Council moved this week to put pressure on the government to establish temporary lodging for foreign homeless who are not entitled to social services.

Current laws permit non-residents from receiving social services or sleeping in homeless shelters, but with winter approaching the council’s Social Affairs Committee is now calling for the social affairs minister, Annette Vilhelmsen (Socialistisk Folkeparti), to allow councils to set up so-called transit rooms for them in order to give them shelter as they prepare to leave the country. 

The move has put some city councillors at odds with their official party line. Councillor Sisse Marie Berendt Welling, also a member of Sociaistisk Folkeparti, put forward the measure, and it was supported by all the members of the committee.

SEE RELATED: Limited support for proposal to help foreign homeless

Mikkel Warming (Enhedslisten), the deputy mayor for social affairs and the chairman of the committee, said council governments should be able to distribute funds directly to homeless charities, instead of the current set-up, which sees funds distributed by the state.

“It is vital that we offer these individuals medical and social support, so they can get better, move on from transit housing and eventually go home”, Warming said.

Charities also want change
The City Council’s move comes after seven homeless charities in Setpember wrote their own letter to Vilhelmsen making suggestions for how to resolve what they call “an unsustainable situation”.

Gitte Frydensbjerg, the head of from Missionen Blandt Hjemløse, one of the seven charities, said the group was still awaiting a response from Vilhelmsen three weeks after contacting her by letter. She said she was still hopeful that a meeting would be scheduled soon, however.

A request to Annette Vilhelmsen to comment on this article was turned down by the Social Affairs Ministry.