Where do unregistered homeless migrants come from?Most foreign homeless come from other European countries (75%) and nearly 25% come from countries outside Europe, especially West African countries. The most significant nationality is Romanian.
What does the word ’unregistered’ refer to? Illegal people?
Homeless migrants do not have registration in Denmark (CPR or refugee number) but they are entitled to be here for a limited time. EU citizens can freely travel to another EU country – to reside, work or study – within a certain time frame. EU citizens do not have to have a residence permit of any sort. Most non-EU citizens have a residency document from another EU country and with this can travel freely as a tourist for 3 months. Non-EU citizens MUST have a work permit from the Danish authorities in order to work.
Why do we see unregistered homeless migrants in Denmark?
Homeless, destitute migrants have left their home country and hope for better opportunities in Denmark and many other EU countries. Extreme poverty and lack of jobs push many unskilled workers to more prosperous countries like Denmark. Homeless migrants hope to earn money to support their families at home. Most want to return to their home countries and have no wish to reside in Denmark.
Do unregistered homeless migrants reside legally in Denmark?
Yes, for a certain time period EU and non-EU citizens may reside in DK. They must support themselves and may not be ‘a burden to society’. Homeless migrants’s stay depends on each individual’s passport.
Can unregistered homeless migrants get help from the public system in Denmark?
Public help is very limited for unregistered migrants. Emergency health care is a human right. EU citizens can register as job-seekers through the public job centres. Homeless migrants must have worked a certain number of hours in DK in order to receive e.g. welfare. Social services like shelters are for certain target groups. Most homeless migrants are turned away from the publicly funded night shelters since they are not significantly in need.
Can homeless migrants work in Denmark?
EU citizens can freely work in Denmark and do not need a work permit. Are they offered a contract they can start work immediately! Non-EU citizens MUST have a work permit in order to work.
Can homeless migrants sell Hus Forbi or other homeless newspapers in Denmark?
Yes, if they speak some Danish Hus Forbi is a possible income. Hus Forbi has some requirements in order to register as salesman. Many homeless migrants sell the homeless magazine ‘Strada’ and ‘Illegal’.
Why don’t homeless migrants just travel back home?
Many wish to return and live with their family and friends in their home country. Lack of work, lack of opportunities and bad economy make people leave their home. If conditions change for the better most would return as soon as possible.
Why are there many African men at the public library?
A day for a homeless person is very long. There are limited places to seek peace and escape bad, cold weather e.g. There are day shelters with certain opening hours, but free public toilets are e.g. in demand. Public libraries are available all over town and many homeless seek out these peaceful places.
How can African bottle collectors on bikes have nice clothes, sneakers and a smartphone?
Many homeless migrants are young, African men. They have never encountered ‘picking bottles’ as a way of income before they reach Denmark. Like most human beings they want to look nice and presentable. Picking bottles is a dirty, undignified job and many would prefer a ‘real job’ with contract, benefits and nice work conditions. The majority of African homeless migrants may not take a job in DK since they do not have an EU passport. They have very slim chances of receiving a work permit.
Are the homeless beggars a part of organized crime?
There exists no research documenting begging being organized crime. Many beggars come in groups and assist each other. Some hold the money and keep it safe while others actively beg on the streets.
How come big families come to Denmark in big vans?
Due to extreme poverty in the home country some homeless migrants travel together and split the costs in reaching the chosen designation. A group of inhabitants of small villages chip in and travel together. Some sleep in the vans or use them as base. Having a van does not mean a prosperous background – quite the contrary.
Why don’t the homeless people go and sleep at the shelters?
There are only a very limited number of night shelters in Copenhagen. The publicly funded shelters are for certain target groups with abuse and mental health issues. If you do not suit the target group, you are not welcome at the shelters.
Why do you see homeless sleeping in groups in the parks?
You are at risk sleeping rough – e.g. theft, hate crimes – so some people feel safer in smaller groups. Due to new legislation it is prohibited to be ‘a nuisance to the public order’. Homeless sleeping rough risk getting a fine if the police rules ‘disturbance of public order’.
Are many homeless migrants Roma? What is Roma?
Roma are a European ethnic minority. There are app 10-12 million Roma in Europe, esp. in Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Greece. Roma live extremely marginalized with discrimination, lack of education, poverty and unemployment. In Kirkens Korshær we meet Roma in our homeless services, but we do not have specific numbers.
Why do foreign homeless break into our backyards to look through the trash?
Danes recycle and have storage areas of ‘storskrald’. It is possible to find valuable items which are worth a lot in some countries. To Danes items might seem like junk and worthless. For homeless migrants any income is extremely important and might support a family in the home country. Going through trash is also a way of survival.
How can I help homeless migrants?
You can support the shelters with various donations that might benefit homeless. You can also sign up to volunteer at social services assisting homeless migrants. You can help inform and influence the politicians to make conditions better for destitute people in Denmark. You can offer EU citizens a job and include foreigners be part of the Danish workforce.