Friday, 13 March 2009

Being Homeless & Finding An Apartment In Stockholm 2

I wrote a couple of days ago about my friend Lynessa. She was interviewed again this week - this time by DN (one of Sweden's 2 national morning papers).

Part of her dilemma came from not passing the income requirements for the apartment she applied for, despite the fact that she saves each month. Her her number in the queue finally came up a couple of weeks ago (after years of waiting) and she was called to look at an apartment, but was number 60 something. This particular apartment was an expensive one so everyone ahead of her said no. She was so thrilled at the opportunity to get a first hand contract and not have to move every year so she said yes. The problem is she didn't pass the income test because she was not permitted to include her child allowance money - yet there is nothing more guaranteed than child allowance in this country. We get it until our kids turn 16 - no matter what! Had she been able to include it she would have been accepted and she would now have her very own rental contract!

It turns out that the huge property company that owns half of the apartments here have changed the regulations and now allow you to calculate in the child allowance - but that doesn't help her. All the same it is amazing, and fantastic that she managed to bring about change!! It might help some other family struggling to find a place to lay their hat for a while.

Here's hoping that soon, very soon her living situation will improve and she too will get the stability in life that so many of us take for granted. I know how relieved she will be to no longer have to look for a new place to live each year.

DN1 and DN2.


  1. Isn't the child allowance for giving the kids what they need and not for rent?

  2. I'm not in Sweden but I would have thought a roof over her kid's heads is one of their needs.

  3. @Anonlymous - that you so much for your response - a roof over their heads and a sense of security, permanancy is indeed one of their needs - added to that a much calmer mother who doesn't have the continual stress of having to find a new place to live, the freeing up of lost bond money from skummy landlords also plays its part.

    @Ulrika I think your comment reflects many people's attitudes and the very generous Swedish child allowance of sek 1100 per child - no matter how wealthy their parents (strange definition of socialism) is often given directly to children or used to improve their material well-being or saved for them. Fine if you can afford it - or if you think it is appropriate for children to be given that much money each month.

    Personally I am of the opinion that the state gives it to the family to improve the overall material well-being of the family - as a unit. And I think it is pretty scary to foster children to believe that the state will hand them out money each month because.......??? Just because. I also prefer to think of the family as a unit - not just a bunch of individuals.

    I had to work for my pocket money as a child - but then a recent article in SvD showed how few children have to do anything in the home for their pocket money......

  4. I think, a mother has the duty to give her child security, a roof over their heads,and a cosy home.For a child this is much more beneficial, than to save the child's allowance for whatever else.

  5. well i think that she is not right, shee lives in a very expencive neighborhood and the rents is so high in Stockholm, the sweeds moves further away from downtown, by social norms she should had a apartment and have it paid for, she should have a welfare check every month because all of here Rent is based of here income, if you live in Sweden then you are taken care of by the Government not like in United states.i lived in Sweden for 41 years and i have worked for the social services and i know the rules. She would be able to not work and get more income then many other single people, with 3 kids, woow she would really enjoy here time. that is why she don't want to come back to United States. Apartment paid for, she gets money for Food and living norms as they say, she gets child suport from the Government and she lives the life if she gets child support also.
    They would charge here ex-husband by American Norms and Calculations and he would have to pay around 1100 per month for 3 children if they ar back charging that would be in todays money = 224.400 dollars that is actually 1.9 million Swedish kronor, she would be able to buy 5 houses cash in Sweden for what she collected under 17 years. She lives in a community that covers all of here needs and she have Public transportation in front of here Apartment. so i don't feel sorry for here. Try to find that in united States if you Can...


  6. @Mike
    Firstly - she doesn't live there - she was offered a first hand contract there. If she opts to take it and spend her money on a place with a high rent then that is her choice and she has her reasons for making that choice.

    Secondly - welfare check?? She has a full-time job - you can read that in the article. If you are talking about rental assistance then that is usually paid to single parents and if you want a more expensive place the difference comes from your own pocket - or is rental assistance an infinite amount of money? Haven't ever heard that rent is based on income??

    In many ways the Swedish system is really supportive of single parents, in many others it makes life very difficult.

    As a general rule once you as parents separate you have to stay in the country where you are currently living - there are few exceptions - no matter which country it is. Any deviation from this is based on an agreement between the parents. So if you separate in Sweden, you stay in Sweden and many struggle on without the supportive network they would have had at home.

    So Lynessa, as with so many others, has little choice about where she lives - even if she would be much better off in the US - but that's another whole discussion.

    You've worked for social services and I have to say you sound pretty bitter - I'm sure you have your reasons. But is that bitterness something you then apply to everyone you meet in need of help?

  7. Well, I'm tired of people who think it's their right to live in expensive areas like Hammarby Sjöstad and in the middle of Stockholm City. Everyone can't live there!
    I can't afford a flat on Östermalm or even on Södermalm (in Stockholm) but thats not anyone else fault! It's up to me to work harder and make more money if I want to live there.

  8. Actually you should still be able to afford a rental in the city center. They aren't that expensive yet, but when we have had Moderaterna in power for a few years I'm sure you will find it quite impossibe to find an appartment that you can afford.

    I pay 5500SEK for 48m^2 in Södermalm I'm sure that's something you could pay as well. If the rents will incresse with 30% then I can't afford it and it will only be children with high income parents living in my block, Yey!

    But that wasn't the point of this.. Just saying if I can pay this rent with my meagre cashflow then she probably can make room for it.