Danish City Using GPS Tracking to Help Homeless

Twenty homeless people in Odense, Denmark’s third largest town, have been outfitted with GPS tracking devices that will be monitored by the city’s town hall. The volunteers will carry the trackers for one week and in return receive three vouchers for a warm meal.

 The hope is to learn the areas most frequented by homeless to make it easier for social workers to find those who need help.  Tom Rodding of the town council explained, “In short, we want to know how we in the council can adapt and keep making offers to the socially marginalised. Those who just want to sit on a bench and drink beers. We know too little about how they move around town.”

Odense is using the same  type of tracker given to dementia patients, but this is the first time it’s being used for city planning purposes.  “As far as I know, this has never been tried anywhere else in the world before,” said Rodding.

According to the National Centre for Social Research, Denmark’s homeless population in 2013 was 5,844, including 1,349 homeless between 18 and 24–almost double to the 701 young homeless in 2009.


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