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Waitlist for Social Housing Longer Than Ever

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Waitlist for Social Housing Longer Than Ever

Reykjavík with Hallgrímskirkja in the background

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

As of this month, there are 1,022 outstanding applications for social housing in Reykjavík, RÚV reports. This is the highest number of applications that has ever been waitlisted. Only 37 placements were made in social housing between January and April.

Iceland is experiencing a housing shortage all over the country, but the crisis is hitting families in Reykjavík and the capital area particularly hard, and this extends to the limited availability of government-owned, low income housing. A single housing application may be made on behalf of a family of any size, so it’s hard to determine exactly how many individuals are awaiting placement. Iceland’s branch of Save the Children has reason to believe, however, that there are a number of children living in compromised circumstances due to the current housing shortage.

“We’ve gotten word that there are families with no place to live, such that people and their children are staying with friends and relatives. And this is a situation we think is completely unacceptable,” said Erna Reynisdóttir, Save the Children Iceland’s managing director. “...[W]e have, therefore, turned to both the Ombudsman for Children and city councilmen to investigate the situation with these children. And these families. And based on that, we need, of course, to take some action.”

It’s estimated that there will be 1,972 social housing units in total by the end of the year, and this number is expected to increase to 2,416 units by 2021. However, even the increased number of units will not be sufficient to accommodate the number of people currently on the waitlist.

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