A child playing with lego.

AFRY to lead project aimed at reducing homelessness among children

The Swedish project Children’s Housing First (Barns Bostad Först) seeks innovative solutions to the growing challenge to society posed by homelessness among families with children. It is funded by Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova and headed by AFRY, with a project group consisting of representatives from AFRY, Malmö University, Save the Children Sweden and the non-profit organisation Stadsmissionen.

Homelessness is a growing issue in Sweden’s bigger cities. In Malmö, the structural homelessness has tripled over the past decade. Not having a home reduces children’s capacity to make use of education, create lasting relationships and maintain routines for food, play and rest.

“A bad start in life reduces the opportunities for good health and work in adulthood, and risks cementing a negative development. Thus, homelessness among families with children creates not only individual suffering, but we also see consequences in the shape of greater injustice and increasing costs for society,” says Hannah Wadman, Urban Planner at AFRY, who is in charge of the project.

Children’s Housing First will take place in the spring of 2020 with tests and evaluations of existing working methods for thwarting homelessness among children. Among other things, the project will use the existing model Housing First as a starting point, with the aim of generating a model focused on children and their families, especially those in structural homelessness.

The project aims to solve problems both short term (urgently securing children’s access to a safe housing situation) and long term (preventive measures to stop families with children from ending up homeless). Needs, best practices, obstacles, opportunities and potential for development will be examined in knowledge alliances amongst relevant societal actors in order to secure housing for children. Aside from the project group, participants include the City of Malmö, The Social Economy Network in Skåne, Region Skåne as well as municipal and private property owners.


Hannah Wadman

Urban Planner