The number of homeless people in Iceland has more than tripled in the past eight years, but most of them report being satisfied with the government assistance they receive.
The Welfare Department of the city of Reykjavík reports that there are 179 “literally homeless” – people sleeping on the streets, not in shelters – in the city. In 2004, that figure was between 40 and 50.
According to the study conducted by the city about the capital’s homeless, most of these people have sought government assistance and were for the most part pleased with the help they received. They did, however, stress the need for more 24-hour services available to them.
Most of these homeless (62.56%) were men, with most of them falling under the 21-30 (24%) and 51-60 (22.3%) age brackets. On either end of the spectrum, the youngest was 18 and the oldest was 75. 38% had been homeless for two years or more, and the most common cause for their situation, they reported, was addiction to alcohol or drugs.
The city’s report concludes that the Welfare Department intends to more closely examine Reykjavík’s homelessness problem, and devise a four-year plan for dealing with the issue.
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