Odense (Denmark) tracked homeless with GPS

Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2014 06:05 am
Not all the time, and only for one week. Though it still sounds intrusive, even dystopian, doesn’t it? But, the thinking behind the plan is actually very positive and benign.

A GPS tracking system, originally designated and used for wandering dementia patients, had been fitted on homeless volunteers, in order to improve city planning for those living on the streets.

The 20 homeless volunteers carried around the tracker inside their pockets for a week and they got three tickets to a warm meal in exchange.

Social worker Tom Rødding of Odense council explained that the town wants to know where homeless usually go over the course of a normal day. It will show the council where to place shelters or benches and it will also make it easier for social workers to find the people they try to help.

“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,” he told Metroxpress.

No-one in Denmark (or elsewhere) complained about it, since there's no possibility to track individuals.

The homeless (and their organisations) were very pleased that they got this attendance.

By tracking where and when homeless people congregate, Odense can choose the best locations for benches and services such as coffee rooms and shelters provided by the municipality. Rather than using the police to force the homeless away from public sites, the city can instead bring services to them where they already are, encouraging full use of them and avoiding pointless, dehumanizing stand-offs.

Sources: Danish media, The Local, spiegel-online
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Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2014 02:18 am
@Walter Hinteler,
It sounds like a good idea to me.
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Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2014 02:34 am
@Walter Hinteler,
America as always goes the other way

A United Nations panel reviewing the U.S. record on racial discrimination has expressed unusually pointed concern over a new pattern of laws it warns is criminalizing homelessness.

U.S. homelessness has increased substantially in the aftermath of the financial downturn, and with a disproportionate impact on minorities. Yet in many places officials have responded by cracking down on activities such as sleeping or even eating in public, while simultaneously defunding social services.

The new rebuke comes from a panel of experts reviewing the United States’ progress in implementing its obligations under a treaty known as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, commonly referred to as CERD or the race convention.


Even my bleeding heart liberal town Olympia Wa has had enough of bums downtown and so continues to strengthen the anti bum laws and to add cops.
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