By Olivia Roman and Anton Dahl Andersen
People on the streets of major cities have displayed various forms of begging. This can include selling mixtapes, selling art, begging for change, entertaining for money and selling drugs.
Some of the homeless in Denmark produce a newspaper, along with freelance journalists and photographers, that they sell for profit on the streets. This is nothing new, as Hus Forbi was founded in 1996.
Giving a voice for the homeless and socially disadvantaged in Dutch politics and allowing them to share their story, Hus Forbi is still going strong and sold mostly in Copenhagen at the moment.
Hus Forbi is not only helping pay the homeless and poor during a time of inflation, war and pandemic, but also gives them a purpose to keep pushing through these tough times.
With 3,000 sellers around Denmark, seller Carsten in Copenhagen (#1077) states that he does it “for fun because instead of smoking weed and drinking beers all the time, I can talk and meet new people. I love it.”
The government agency, Statistics Denmark, recently reported that consumer prices were 7.4% higher than they were in May, 2022. This marks the highest 12-month inflation rate Denmark has seen since 1983. This is speculated to be from a variety of factors, such as the war in Ukraine, Covid-19, etc.
With Copenhagen being the largest city in Denmark and the highest priced city in the EU, these residents are feeling it more than others.
“A few years ago, it cost just 20 DKK, now it is 30 DKK we sell each of our newspapers for,” stated Carsten.
While a Hus Forbi newspaper is now sold for 30 DKK ($4.00), the seller earns 15 DKK ($2.00) for each newspaper they sell. The other 15 DKK goes to administrative needs, production and distribution matters, as Hus Forbi is published 13 times a year by their association.
During times of inflation, Hus Forbi is helping most in need to stay afloat.
Not being able to work anymore due to old age, Carsten has been selling Hus Forbi full time and has worked there for ten years now.
He reports that no customers have been lost due to the price increase, as far as Carsten can notice. He claims it’s “the same as always, thankfully.”
Although Hus Forbi is still going strong and is able to help Carsten stay on his feet during these times, he still can definitely feel the inflation “because everything in the stores are going up in prices, so it’s not so good for the people who live on the streets.”
Hus Forbi is extremely crucial now more than ever for these socially disadvantaged and homeless people. “If you are sick, Hus Forbi pays for it, as long as you are selling at least one newspaper everyday.”
These sellers can just go to a pharmacy and show their vendor card in order to accept free medicine, with Hus Forbi covering the expenses.
In a State Comptroller report back in April, 2022, it was reported that consumer prices grew by 6.1% in the New York City Metropolitan area compared to March, 2021. Higher prices are pushing more people to lose homes and go hungry.
Even before inflation, when walking the streets of the big apple you will come across many sleeping on the floor of every other street and corner, scrummaging through the trash, begging for change and much more. This is where the city of Copenhagen differs, as you won’t see as many homeless people on the streets since it is not allowed.
Government welfare in Denmark supports those in poverty to just get by with a roof over their heads. With that being said, most of the homeless people you may see in Copenhagen are struggling with mental health or substance and drug abuse. Rather than not having the means economically, they really are just not stable enough to hold a home.
With this financial support from the government and medical/emotional support from companies like Hus Forbi, they have a way greater chance of staying off the streets than those in NYC during inflation.
*This article is written for an audience in New York City and could be published on Spectrum News (ny1.com) or NBC News*