I know what this person is called, but I promised not to say his name. Let’s call him KMJ. This is a real and true story from today’s Denmark.
KMJ is in his late forties. He has been married for more than 15 years, but is recently divorced. KMJ is suffering from several chronic diseases. He is dependent on medication and constant control of the doctors/hospitals. Because of his health situation, he uses some days a walker and other days crutches. Slightly depending on wind and weather, and of course how KMJ has it exactly in the moment.
His condition makes him unable to work full time, so he works in a local company, where he earns less than very little. Due to his recent divorce (within a year), KMJ lost almost everything that was important to him. Except for his wife (ex) he loves very high, he is also the father of nearly grown children. Since the divorce, he has been allowed to use a small “garage” like room with some acquaintances, as a temporary home. But now he has got his resignation and now it’s as reality hit him.
Today, we as citizens, do not have other options than our local municipal office. So KMJ find it natural to turn to them since his current situation has reached an unacceptable point. KMJ earn enough to buy his medication and his food. He has no car. He owns virtually only the clothes he walks in. He does not have enough income to rent and KMJ would probably not be approved for a municipal lone to pay a deposit on an apartment. In any case the local municipal office seems the only and the most sensible choice.
KMJ contacts the housing department, where he with his best of his abilities describes and explains his situation to the staff. After a few minutes the employee calls the department head, who in a very particular manner, though polite, explains that the municipality does not help with housing of any kind. This was KMJ aware about, but he also knew, in emergency situations, the local authorities have the power help the situation. KMJ try once again to explain his social and economic situation to the department head, who instead of understanding shows a certain level of irritation. The conversation ends up with a clear message, that he cannot receive any housing assistance despite his very difficult social-economic situation, a physical / psychological situation that already make life so difficult for him. As KMJ is trying to appeal to the department head feelings about how difficult the situation is, an answer comes with great surprise: “Dear KMJ, you are a man. Therefore, go and find you a place to stay, maybe a better job so that you can improve your financial situation. Perhaps a hostel. At least with us you cannot get help with housing. ”
KMJ goes in tears away and thinking now what he should do now. Will he now just be another number in the system, living on the street far below the poverty line. What did KMJ wrong? Divorced and lost all of his social security in a family. Struggling with and against diseases. He has logical limits. The question is what kind of rights does KMJ have?