Homelessness in Norway

A homeless person is defined as a person who does not own or rent a home, and is left with coincidental or temporary housing arrangements, who temporarily stay with close relatives, friends or acquaintances, or is under the care of the correctional services or an institution, due for release within two months and without a home. People without arranged accommodation for the next night are also considered homeless.

(Housing for welfare 2014:31)

Given the mentioned definition of homelessness, the majority of the Norwegian homeless are in some type of temporary housing arrangements.  The last survey of homelessness in Norway is from November 2012. At that point, there were 6,259 homeless people in Norway, which corresponds to 1.26 per 1,000 pop. 54% of the total of homeless people were drug dependent, 38% suffered from mental illness. Within this group of homeless people that are affected by substance abuse and mental illness problems 73 % had been homeless for more than 6 months. Characteristics of homelessness most homeless people are male, only three out of ten are female. Homeless people are younger than the general population. A large group, one in four, is under 25. Over half are between 25 and 45. There is only a small group of older homeless people. The most homeless people 39 per cent are staying temporarily with friends, acquaintances and relatives. The second most prevalent is temporary accommodation. One in four homeless people live in temporary accommodation. Fifteen per cent live in some form of institution and 7 per cent are in prison or under the care of the correctional services. There is an overrepresentation among the homeless of people born outside Norway, compared to the immigrant population in Norway.  (Dyb & Johannessen 2013). There will be a new survey of homelessness in November 2016, at it will be published in June 2017. Almost identical surveys have been conducted four times previously, in 2008, 2005, 2003 and 1996.


Housing for welfare – national strategy 2014 -2020



The vision of the housing policies in Norway is that everyone should live safely and well. The housing policy shall contribute to meeting the housing needs of the individual, society and future generations. Still a relatively high number of households experience being disadvantaged in the housing market.