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Homeless shelters operate at full capacity in Faroe as population grows beyond 54k

Homeless shelters in the Faroes were fully occupied practically every day last year, Statistics Faroe Islands reports.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, the statistics agency reported that the number of new dwellings—residential houses and apartments—had increased by 1,524 since 2015. The number of new dwellings could, however, not keep up with the population growth, which amounted to 5,609 for the same period.

As of February 1st, 54,273 people were living in the Faroe Islands, a 1.2-percent increase on the previous year.

In early March, Statistics Faroe Islands also reported that the occupancy rate at overnight hostels exceeded 100 percent during some months last year, meaning there were more occupants than rooms and that extra mattresses were needed to accommodate people.

These statistics are, according to the agency, sourced from the Herbergið hostel and overnight shelter for homeless people in Tórshavn, and the Gloria homeless hostel in Klaksvík.

Thus in 2022, virtually none of the total 26 homeless hostel rooms were available at any given time as they were fully occupied almost every single day throughout the year. In January, an additional room was added to increase the total capacity to 27 rooms.

While the occupancy rate did exceed 100 percent for some of the months, it decreased, however, during the summer months, according to Statistics Faroe Islands.

And yet, in January of this year there were a total 16 overnight stays at the overnight shelters, a considerably lower number compared to the 48 registered in January 2022.

As 2022 is the first year of official reporting on homelessness statistics in the Faroes, the agency explained.

“There is no universal statistical definition and classification of homelessness. Statistics Faroe Islands has decided to use the classification system made by the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTESA), an independent organization backed by the European Commission. (…) Statistics Faroe Islands now compiles figures for the following sub-categories of homelessness: ‘2.2 Overnight shelter’ and ‘3.3 Homeless hostel’. The overnight shelter provides emergency accommodation to people of no fixed address who move between temporary homes. A homeless hostel is for homeless people and is intended as temporary accommodation only. The homeless hostel in Tórshavn functions both as an overnight shelter and a regular homeless hostel. It is the national center for overnight shelters. The homeless hostel in Tórshavn and Gloria in Klaksvík are the national centers for homeless people in homeless hostels.”


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