Odense fitting their homeless with GPS to learn about their habits and movements

Food tickets will be handed out in return

In a bid to improve the daily lives of their homeless community, Odense Council has given 20 of its homeless GPS devices to carry around in their pockets for a week as part of a voluntary test project.

The council wants to know where the homeless move about during the day so it can place coffee rooms and benches strategically and also let the council know where the socially vulnerable community can be found.

“Basically, we want to know how we as the council can make changes so that there can also be offers for the socially vulnerable,” Tom Rødding, a housing strategy consultant with the council, told Metroxpress newspaper.

“We know far too little about how they move about in the city. As far as I know, this has never been tried before.”

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Homeless figures up
The GPS devices given to the homeless – who will receive three tickets to warm meals for their troubles – is like the ones that are put into the pockets of people suffering from dementia.

Earlier, the council registered its homeless by manually sending employees about the city to find them. Both parties are pleased with the new initiative.

“Before we started this project we spoke with the homeless and they agreed to take part,” Kristian Guldfeldt, a Konservative party spokesperson at the council, said. “We’ve offered them three food tickets to keep these GPS devices for a week. The plan is to do it every six months.”

The number of homeless in Denmark has increased dramatically according to a report last year from the Danish National Centre for Social Research.