In this chapter, we examine the ways in which socio-structural forms—particularly social differen ... Read more
In this chapter, we examine the ways in which socio-structural forms—particularly social difference and social policy—frame the reproduction of houselessness and homelessness amongst Greenlanders in Nuuk, Greenland. In addition to examining the forms of marginalization embodied by Greenlanders experiencing housing insecurity, we suggest that rising urban homelessness in Greenland represents the social dimensions of resettlement, rural-urban migration and social welfare institutionalization in local processes of urbanization. Moreover, the absence of specific social policy attention towards homelessness in general, and towards marginalized single adults specifically, is especially concerning. This policy gap serves to reproduce rural-urban homeless geographies in Greenland and between Greenland and Denmark, resulting not only in an increasing number of Greenlanders experiencing housing insecurity, but also in institutional geographies of homeless mobility that reflect persistent colonial relations embedded in resettlement and institutionalized social welfare.
Greenland experienced a 5-week lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis. The lockdown effectively took ... Read more
Greenland experienced a 5-week lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis. The lockdown effectively took out all public social support and food supply for people experiencing homelessness in the capital Nuuk. This woke up Greenland’s social conscience in the form of a local NGO’s mobilization of voluntary social helpers. Luckily nobody in the homeless environment got infected and suffered needlessly. From a social policy perspective, we can take three experiences away from the pandemic. Firstly, a clear learning experience from this crisis was the need to redefine the broad societal understanding of Greenland a country with a universal welfare system. The second experience was that social work comes in many shapes and forms. Finally, the experience illustrated what could take place when the political and administrative system are too slow to react in times of crisis. It kickstarted the civil society step up and help fellow citizens. In the end NGO’s need to reports back and inform the public system to ensure better social emergency response in the future.
This chapter reviews historical and contemporary processes of state-sanctioned resettlement and u ... Read more
This chapter reviews historical and contemporary processes of state-sanctioned resettlement and urbanization in the Greenlandic context, with a particular focus on the consequences of passive and overt urbanization policies on geographies of homelessness.
Over the past three decades, homelessness has become an area of significant social concern in Ala ... Read more
Over the past three decades, homelessness has become an area of significant social concern in Alaska, the Canadian North, and most recently, Greenland. These three geographical contexts show both similarities and contrasts, but no effort has yet been made to review the research literature on homelessness from these three regions or to highlight key themes or gaps in current knowledge. We reviewed the literature in order to 1) understand the current state of knowledge of the dynamics of homelessness in Alaska, the Canadian North (here including Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut), and Greenland and 2) conceptualize a northern geography of homelessness. The research literature identifies common themes across these contexts, which include chronic housing insecurity, overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples among those living homeless, and the significance of gendered experiences of homelessness. It identifies key interconnections between hidden homelessness and visible homelessness as the dynamics of urbanization in northern towns and cities reveal the social consequences of chronic housing insecurity in settlements. Across these northern regions, the high rates of chronic homelessness reflect the prevalence of northern housing insecurity and the lack of both adequate, appropriate support for people experiencing mental health or addiction problems and supportive or public housing options. Strategies that aim to diversify housing stock at various critical points along the housing spectrum are needed in northern regions, an idea that is promoted by Housing First and transitional housing programs in Alaska and the Canadian North.