Stockholm puts capitalism on hold to help homeless

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The Swedish digital kiosk normally displays ads targeting consumers. But when the mercury plummets, it provides crucial info to homeless people in need of emergency shelter.
The Swedish digital kiosk normally displays ads targeting consumers. But when the mercury plummets, it provides crucial info to homeless people in need of emergency shelter. (Photo: Clear Channel)

STOCKHOLM — For those experiencing homelessness, winters are especially difficult. Winters in the Nordic nation of Sweden are especially dangerous for those without shelter.

It’s for that reason that the nation’s capital, Stockholm, is replacing some of the ad space typically occupied by consumer companies into information billboards providing directions to a safe place to sleep and a warm meal.

You might wonder why signage like this may be helpful. Those with smartphones often take for granted their ability to search for directions on demand. When temperatures begin to drop to dangerously low levels, the signs are activated. This information often gives homeless a bit of a warning to hurry and take shelter before the weather gets dangerous.

Stockholm currently has fifty-three of these signs operating within the city serving a homeless population of approximately 2,400. Stockholm mayor Jan Jonsson calls the billboards a “great compliment” to the existing homelessness services provided by the city.

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