Homelessness in Nuuk is a social issue that has been known for several years. In the 1970s Nuuk g ... Read more
Homelessness in Nuuk is a social issue that has been known for several years. In the 1970s Nuuk got it’s first shelter for women. In the 2010s some attention in the field has emerged with the establishment of a municipal night shelter and the opening of the Salvation Army day shelter and a Kofoeds Skole in Nuuk. Homelessness has not nearly gotten the same social policy focus as has children and their families. The lack of political attention to this topic is one of the reasons why there are yet large public planning challenges to be solved. In research based on prolonged fieldwork we can observe several challenges when homeless citizens try to engage with public agencies. The article draws on fieldwork and data from interviews in the field of social welfare and health care since 2010. A critical sociological perspective can create a new understanding of the challenges that lie in process of strengthening disempowered citizens’ autonomy. The article brings excerpts from interviews regarding the direct experience of the encounter between disempowered citizens and public systems. It points to some solutions through an enhanced crosssectorial and communicative action. Public systems can, without losing function and power, hand over sovereignty to the citizens. Such efforts may in the long run create a more equal Greenlandic society.