Data from a new City of Reykjavík report shows there are 301 people experiencing homelessness in the city. The figure is a decrease from previous years. Most, or 71%, are men while women are 29% and the majority is between 21-49 years of age. Most homeless people utilise housing resources provided by the city but eight do not. The chairperson of the City’s Welfare Council stated more must be done to meet the needs of that group.
The number of people experiencing homelessness in Reykjavík has dropped by 14% since the last count was carried out in 2017. While men make up 71% of homeless people in the city, around 10% are foreign nationals (most also men). Just over half lives in utilises registered housing for the homeless or long-term support housing and around one third stays in short-term emergency housing.
“While it’s of course not happy news to see that there are still 300 people in the city that are considered to be in this group that is homeless, nevertheless they have decreased in number,” stated Heiða Björg Hilmisdóttir, City of Reykjavík Welfare Council chairperson. “It’s good to see that about half of those people are in permanent or temporary housing. That is really our biggest project and policy, to find ways to reach people who are in that situation and find ways to get people into permanent housing.”
Eight people are currently living out in the open in poor conditions, without any form of shelter that can be called housing. “During this term we made a change so that no one is turned away from emergency shelters due to lack of space. But there are some people who do not consider [the emergency shelters] to meet their needs or don’t trust them. Of course, the project is to find a solution,” Heiða stated.