The Alliance, A Home for All
In recent years, the numbers of the homeless young have increased considerably. We are committed to put an end to this development. As a part of The Alliance, A Home for All, we work towards creating homes for young homeless people. We do so through the development of new housing solutions and the establishment of subsidy schemes as well as by putting homelessness on the agenda. If your organisation is in a position to contribute with knowledge, concepts, manpower or financial support, we shall be very pleased to hear from you.
Homelessness among young people is a complex issue that requires the participation of several parties all working towards solutions. Together with The Alliance, A Home for All, we are focused on finding a solution for homelessness among young people through the development of new initiatives across civil society, the authorities, the business sector and investors. We will not solve this problem tomorrow or next year for that matter. In 2016, however, we and The Alliance, A Home for All, agreed on a ten-year timeframe for breaking the ascending curve and for the development of innovative solutions that will hopefully result in permanent change. If your organisation is interested in putting in effort to stop this upward trend, we shall be very pleased to hear from you, regardless of whether you can contribute with knowledge, concepts, manpower, financing, or just wish to enter into a dialogue about how, together, we can put an end to homelessness among young people.
Young people's transition from out-of-home care to a home of their own
According to VIVE (the Danish Center for Social Science Research) approximately 40 % of young people who become homeless, were placed in out-of-home care as a child. This is an issue that we are currently investigating in order to clarify how to approach the difficult transition from placement to self-reliance in one's own home.
- There are about 2,300 homeless young people in Denmark. Since 2009, this figure has increased by 104 %
- Half the homeless young suffer from a mental illness
- Half the homeless young have a problem relating to alcohol or drug abuse
- One third of the homeless young are mentally ill and, at the same time, have problems relating to abuse of alcohol and/or drugs
- More than half the homeless young below the age of 23 come from middle-class families with neither mother nor father being mentally ill or having an abuse-related problem
- Nearly half the homeless young who have stayed at a youth hostel were placed in out-of-home-care as children
- Almost a quarter of the homeless young are either immigrants or descendants
Facts based on ’Kortlægning af hjemløshed i Danmark 2017’ (Mapping out homelessness in Denmark, 2017) and the report ’Veje ud og ind af hjemløshed’ (Roads in and out of homelessness), VIVE 2017.
In 2015, we, Realdania, Helsefonden and the municipality of Copenhagen carried out an analysis of homelessness among young people in Denmark. This analysis demonstrated that this issue is not only a complex one, but also a growing one. Based on this background, the group behind the initiative decided to collaborate on launching The Alliance, A Home for All (Hjem til Alle alliancen). This was in 2016; and, the same year saw the institution of a development arena for promotors as well as other contributors. Eighty committed people got together to develop ideas and concepts targeted at helping homeless young people into homes of their own. The result was an array of different housing concepts. Each housing concept must be linked with the social concept, 24/7, which is focused on the establishment of communities, on helping young people get jobs or begin an education and to work on their health.
The Alliance, A Home for All comprises a number of players who are all committed to contributing towards curbing the increase in the number of homeless young people. The alliance primarily represents:
- Those authorities who are responsible for guaranteeing the provision of welfare benefits and support for the young, comprising some of the municipalities in which these problems are particularly pronounced, viz. Aarhus and Copenhagen.
- The social housing sector – a key player in matters involving the creation of cheap dwellings.
- Pension funds in a position to invest in new solutions.
- Voluntary organisations with experience in creating networks, relations and communities of equals together with the young people.
- The back-up of a number of foundations.
Add to this an array of other players, for instance within research, knowledge dissemination and teaching.
In 2017, The Alliance, A Home for All formed the association A Home for All (in Danish Hjem til Alle alliancen), electing a board that today is in charge of the work of the alliance. The schemes for combatting homelessness among the young are unrolled along a diversity of parallel tracks and at diverse levels. A secretariat is the project facilitator, making provisions for the gathering of the various players, the identification of – and provision of leverage regarding structural and legal barriers, the development of concepts and the dissemination of models that work.
READ THE PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS CARRIED OUT BY SPUK IN 2015 HERE (in Danish only)
SPUK is an acronym for Socialt og Pædagogisk Udviklings- og Kursuscenter – (the Social and Educational Development and Training Centre)
The Bikuben Foundation's contribution to the efforts of the alliance
In 2014, the Bikuben Foundation granted DKK 300,000 for a preliminary analysis of homelessness among young people. Since then, between 2015 and 2019, we have backed The Alliance, A Home for All with DKK 9m, and, in 2018, we issued an additional annual grant of DKK 3.5m through 2021 for the purpose of supporting the framework for the alliance's long-term work.
Even though more than 2,000 young people are living as homeless in Denmark, their voice is practically absent from the public debate. Backed by a DKK 195,000 grant from the Bikuben Foundation, the Danish daily, Dagbladet Information, and The alliance, A Home for All therefore collaborated on the development and conduction of a media school for young people who live as homeless or are otherwise familiar with the concept of homelessness. The objective was to qualify public debate by bringing the young people's own perspectives and experiences into the debate. The objective of the media school was to provide the young people with tools for cooperating with the media, participating in the debate and using their own stories for providing a nuanced picture of what it means to be young and homeless. The Bikuben Foundation and The alliance, A Home for All continue to speculate on how we can give the young people a voice to speak up for themselves in the debate.
Through the scheme Hjem til Dig (in Danish At Your Place), well-functioning families lend a helping hand to young people on the edge of homelessness. The families will open their own homes for a period of three to six months, letting their young guests participate in their everyday lives. Not only will the guests be staying with the families, they will also become a part of the family and experience a feeling of coherence, social ground rules, structure, peace of mind, caring, and the sense of belonging in a well-functioning home. In 2017, the Bikuben Foundation granted DKK 2.6m for the establishment of the scheme At Your Place, which is a Danish adaptation of Depaul UK's thoroughly tested concept in Britain, Nightstop. The Danish adaptation is being developed in a collaboration between The alliance, A Home for All, the Danish Red Cross, the Danish Red Cross Youth, and the municipalities of Aarhus, Copenhagen and Roskilde. The first match between a family and a young person will be made in the course of 2018.
The Kollegiemodellen is based on the fundamental idea that the road leading away from homelessness is about more than simply having a place to live. It is as much about friendships, sharing communities and networks with other young people – and it is about getting an education. Since September 2016, we have earmarked ten rooms in the Bikuben residence hall in Copenhagen and eight in our residence hall in Odense, for homeless young people between the age of 17 and 30 years who are either students already or planning to be so within a year. We have moreover established a close collaborative relationship with the involved municipalities. The residence-hall scheme has taken into account the fact that many of the young homeless are struggling with mental or social problems which will require particular efforts. This is why the municipality facilitates comprehensive support before, during and after move-in. The municipalities will refer such young people as, in their assessment, will be good matches for the residence hall. The residence hall will contribute actively by making an effort to establish good communities encompassing all the young residents of the respective residence halls. We shall be more than pleased to provide information about how your residence hall can become a part of the modern residence-hall scheme, which is focused on precisely such community spirits as an increasing number of young people are seeking.
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dialogue with us
We will be pleased to hear from you, if your organisation is in a position to contribute new knowledge, concepts, manpower, financing – or simply wishes to establish a dialogue about how, together, we can put an end to homelessness among the young. Send us a brief mail, and we will let you know whether a meeting or an application will be relevant.