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Searching for a Homeless Strategy in Sweden

  • Ingrid Sahlin
Publiceringsår: 2015
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 161-186
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: European Journal of Homelessness
Volym: 9
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Feantsa

Abstract english

The aim of this article is to critically review the Swedish Government’s Strategy against Homelessness and Housing Exclusion, operational between 2007 and 2009. This is done through, first, a discussion on the functions of national action plans in general and a brief comparison with homeless strategies in other Nordic Countries. Secondly, the Swedish strategy is presented and put in a context of other government initiatives against homelessness since the early 1990s. These are then compared to a previous, comprehensive housing policy between 1947 and 1990. The recent state initiatives against homelessness and the previous housing policy differ not so much in their explicit ambitions to combat housing exclusion, but rather in the relationship between such words and ideas and the governments’ actions. Nils Brunsson’s theory on political hypocrisy as a way to handle contradictions between actions and ideas, and to understand the difference between decisions and actions is then presented. In testing this theory, government actions and decisions of relevance for housing access and housing exclusion in 2007 are reviewed. Most of these decisions implied increased difficulties for homeless people to access housing. Hence, the main conclusion is that in 2007, the Swedish government launched a strategy that it probably never intended to follow up with actions. Rather, its main function may have been to divert public attention from an implicit strategy, the realisation of which implied more market-oriented public housing, higher rents, withdrawn building subventions and massive subsidies to home-owners.


  • Social Work
  • national action plans
  • homeless strategies
  • housing policy
  • political hypocrisy


  • ISSN: 2030-2762
E-post: ingrid [dot] sahlin [at] soch [dot] lu [dot] se



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