Investigating the housing market in Gothenburg – Mia

Background
Originally, we intended to investigate the beggar ban in Sweden, focusing on the municipality of Vellinge that recently voted in favor of banning beggars in their small municipality, where the opposition claims there are only around four beggars. However, after some further investigation we decided to let that project be as we could not find the right angle to approach the topic for the coming three week investigation.

Instead we discussed the issue of finding accommodation in Gothenburg and concluded that this topic needs further investigation, it also fits the timeframe better.

Subject
Finding a rental apartment in Gothenburg is not an easy game, it seems to many as an impossible task. According to jagvillhabostad.nu, there are today almost 250 000 individuals between 20-27 years who do not have a home or is currently looking for one in Sweden.

Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city and with a large university and many international companies it attracts both international and national students and young professionals. As the lines does not seem to get any shorter at the well-known market platforms for rental apartments in Gothenburg, such as boplats and SGS, the markets for second hand contracts and the black market are a continuous problem.

This housing issue creates an opportunity for homeowners, or individuals with a first hand rental contract, to take advantage of people in desperate need of a place to stay.

Hypothesis
Our hypothesis builds on the assumption that young individuals are particularly exposed to this issue. As a student you have to stand in line on the platform of SGS for years before you are able to receive a first hand contract for a student apartment which is similar for boplats (offers apartments not only to students) as well. In this regard, we believe that international young individuals may be particularly exposed on the (rental) housing market. First, as an international student or young professional you are not as likely to know that far in advance that you are moving to Gothenburg and second you might not know about the current housing situation. The majority of these individuals presumably also have a smaller (if any) network of acquaintances that may be able to help them.

In this context, we have come up with the following hypotheses to start our investigation:

  • The current housing situation in Gothenburg allows for homeowners (or individuals with a first hand rental contract) to take advantage of individuals in desperate need of a place to stay.
  • International students are particularly exposed to this issue.

We expect this to change over time and plan to narrow it down as we gain a larger insight to the topic.

Need
Unsurprisingly there is a large market for second hand apartments in most major Swedish cities. Renting an apartment on the black market is also not uncommon and young individuals are particularly exposed to this issue. We want to further investigate the implications of this issue, focusing on the younger generation as a particularly exposed group. Many have had bad experiences while looking for accommodation in Gothenburg, this can be illustrated by the example of us posting a request, on one of the many facebook groups for individuals looking for housing in Gothenburg, asking for people to contact us if they have had any negative experiences related to this. Within hours we got several replies, both private messages and comments on the post, which keep coming in.

We believe that individuals and private companies taking advantage of people in desperate need for a place to stay need to be held accountable and politicians of the municipality need to take action to provide more and better opportunities on the housing market.

Scope
The geographical scope is limited to Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, where the lack of available accommodation is a major issue. Furthermore, living in Gothenburg it will be easier for us to meet interviewees and experts to talk to.

The target group is young individuals, presumably international citizens, that are likely to be particularly exposed to issues related to the lack of available accommodation.

Method
To gain relevant background information on topic we plan to further look into what has previously been reported on this issue, including journalistic articles, reports and statistics. This will be complemented with expert interviews, both considering the legal aspects of the issue as well as the experience of representatives for organizations, both within the public and private sector. We may also conduct our own online survey to gain further insight to the experiences of our target group in Gothenburg if we cannot find the data we need from sources already available.

Furthermore, we plan to conduct more in-depth interviews with individuals who have had negative experiences on the second-hand and black markets as a result of the lack of first hand contracts available. Depending on the outcome of these interviews we may further narrow down our hypothesis and/or further investigate a particular aspect related to the experience(s) of our interviewees.

Sources
There are a lot of sources available to investigate this issue. Below is a list with relevant organizations/actors that are likely to have (or be able to provide us with) relevant information:

  • Previous reports / articles / research (background information)
  • SGS and Boplats (main market places for apartments available through the municipality): Here we can find information on the prices, average number of days you have to wait to get a contract. There are also other housing companies that apply the same queuing system.
  • Private housing companies: Several private companies does not use the same queuing system as boplats, which means that you are likely (may be able to) get a first hand contract faster with a private housing company.
  • City of Gothenburg: What is the plan for the future? When will there be enough apartments for the people of Gothenburg? How have they/do the plan to tackle this issue? (According to Hyresgästföreningen Sweden needs 200 000 new rental apartments until 2025)
  • Blocket.se: Second hand market – overprized? Fraud?
  • Individuals with personal experience(s): Further insight to individual cases
  • Legal aspect: What is allowed and who will make sure no one violates the laws and regulations?
  • Hyresgästföreningen: Organization supporting tenants all over Sweden.
  • Own online survey: Possibility if we can not find relevant data through other sources.
  • Facebook (groups to find housing): Possibility to read about (and interview) individuals with different experiences from the housing market in Gothenburg.

Presentation
We would like to present our findings through a short documentary (5-10 minutes) and an interactive text version with pictures and infographics. In the video we plan to highlight the most important aspects of the lack of available accommodation and what implications that has for the younger generation as a particularly exposed group. Generally, the text will provide more in-depth information and background information on the topic whereas the video will be more focused around the individual interviews.

Investigation – Rajmonda

Subject & background:
The subject of this investigation is social day care for children and young people – meaning: 24 hour care in a foster home or in a institution.

The social day care is given to children and youths with tough health and living conditions and are in greater risk of bad health and social problems in the adulthood. However, there has been reports since 2006 that decisions and interventions are made

”without knowing whether the efforts have a favorable, neutral or even harmful impact on the children’s development and life chances in a longer perspective … the outcomes point to a great need for evaluation studies and controlled attempts at new efforts or methods in this sector’’

The National Board of Health and Welfare (2006) Social report 2006: p.294

Def.
The Nation Board of Health Welfare in Sweden:
the central national authority for the social services, public health, infectious diseases prevention and the Health service.

Hypothesis:
Girls placed with LvU and SoL ‘status’ don’t get the time needed for their treatment in care centers compared to boys’

In order no narrow down the hypothesis we decided on comparing the situation for girls and boys. This will enable us to search for possible gender differences within the social day care.

We continued by narrowing the definition of girls and boys within social day care to girls and boys placed with a LvU or SoL status – which allows us to further focus our investigation since there are children with other conditions and situations that are treated or hosted within foster homes and institutions (ex. unaccompanied refugee children).

Additionally, we had to define time and treatment which is the foundation of our investigation. Defining the time needed for treatment would allow us to focus our analysis of data and research with a reference of a minimum time acceptable for undergoing a treatment in order to obtain a continuity in their progress. The investigation could have been focused on various other elements of interventions made for children placed in social day care – such as, the quality and type of the treatment, school, social networks, etc.

Finally, we have chosen to only focus only on children and youths placed within care centers. This decision was made since the focus of these kind of institutions evolve around care and treatment for their complex of problems – while the focus in, for example, foster homes are usually centered on care and upbringing.

Def.
LvU ‘status’- a person who is forcefully taken from its home because of the risks by people in the their social network; a risk for herself; or a risk for others. This can be made without parents concent, and they would lose their rights as the childrens legal guardians.
SoL ‘status’- a person who is voluntarly taken from the home because their needs are not satisfied by their current living conditions. This would be made with the consent of the parents, and they remain their legal Guardian

Need:
The need of this investigation is big, since these these tax-funded social services given to the most vulnerable group in the society may cause more damage to a child’s or youth’s health and living conditions. This group of children and youths are left in the hand of the society and it is in our communities interests – socially and economically – to protect them and hold agencies and institutions accountable.         

Scope:
The scope of the investigation is limited to Västra Götaland with a possibility to limit ourselves to only Gothenburg. This decision will be made depending on the amount and accessibility of the data and statistics relevant for our investigation – and to be able to narrow the search of data and statistical search; we decided to investigate the past two years [2015-2016].

Methods:
To kick-off our investigation we need to require the ‘register of actions’ for boys and girls placed with LvU or SoL during these last two years in Västra Götaland or specifically Gothenburg. These documents can be found at the National Board of Health and Welfare. This information will provide us with – the number of children placed within this kind of social day care; the number of times each individual has been moved to another home or institution, as well as the period of time spent at each place; the treatment plan; and the age of the child when each treatment was terminated.

After analyzing the register, we continue with researching the framework and guideline of the National Board of Health and Welfare and specific municipalities regarding these childrens and their treatment. This will give us a picture of how these processes and procedures are to work in according to their assessments.

Next step would be contacting an ‘expert’- such as an experienced coordinator of care centers, a child psychologists, academic researchers, etc. – and find out the recommended or at least the minimum time necessary for treatment of boys and girls within these institutions. Further, we are going to interview people within the social service agencies in order for them to give their arguments and opinions on their responsibilities.

When the information and the data is gathered, we would have to analyze, compare and evaluate it keeping the hypothesis in mind. The key focus will be the comparison between the actual duration of the treatments with the recommended minimum time for treatment. The termination of a treatment implies that the assessed treatment plan for the child has terminated at that specific home or institution – and a new process of assessments starts when the child is moved. These processes take some time and if the child is moved frequently, the child will be lost in a libo of unstable environments.

Sources:

Databases

Register of actions
List of care centers in Västra Götaland or Gothenburg

Reports

the Framework of Regulations of the National Board of Health and Welfare

Interviews

Expert
Care center workers
Social service workers
Foster homes
Girls – personal stories

Presentation:
The investigation will presumably be interesting to B2B magazines focused on social service issues and social welfare issues. The issue would also be interesting for a local or regional news media outlet.

The presentation of the article would be made in text-form containing pictures and video interviews. The data and the numbers will be presented through info graphics.

Minority language – Viktoriia

Subject

Since 2015, students in Sweden were granted a right to choose education in their mother tongue (Sami, Meänkieli, Yiddish, Finish, and Romani). Reports signal however, that minorities still lack that opportunity. A survey conducted by Swedish Radio’s Finnish Service in 2016 shows, that majority of those students get an hour of lessons or less per week.

Council of Europe issued a report in May 2017 critical of Sweden’s approach to education in minority languages. It states: “The offer of one lesson per week is considered insufficient… No teacher education exists for pre-schools, primary school years 1 to 6 or for bilingual education”.

We decided to investigate this issue in the municipality of Gothenburg, for the school students of Romani national minority which is the largest here.

Hypothesis

Our group had a number of hypothesizes and we are still in a process of formulating it. However, I do not feel the urge to stick to a very narrow hypothesis at this stage. What I do understand is that minorities in Sweden did not get their language rights fulfilled even 2 years after the law granted them those rights. What I do not understand is: how is that possible? One guess was, that there are not enough resources. Another was, that the local authorities fail to mobilize those resources. Thus they may just lack political will to deal with this particular issue (which sounds like a third guess).

For the sake of setting at least one hypothesis, it could be acceptable to stick with: “Gothenburg municipality authorities fail to grant the right of Romani minority school students to study in native language because the law is vague” – as a minimum. Which leads to another hypothesis: “Gothenburg authorities break the law that grants Romani minority the right to education in mother tongue” – which is a maximum.

Need

It is quite easy to argue the vital importance of this issue. One can say, that complaining about “one hour is not enough” is one of the “first world country problems”. Which is so, indeed, along with the other “first world country” issue: there is a law that is not being enforced. No matter what the law deals with, I believe it’s a time bomb in the long run – having a law that is not executed in a democraxy. The investigation must therefore provide answers to the questions:

  • Was the law tailored to unrealistic expectations?
  • Does it have enough loopholes so that responsible ones can get away?
  • Does it lack preciseness in terms of execution so that vague solutions are still within legal frames?
  • Is this issue so insignificant to the society that in 2 years there have been no campaigns, protests, actions, etc?
  • Is there a lack of political will to facilitate execution of this law?
  • Has this law been executed “on paper” but not in reality – meaning, the resources have been exploited in a wrong way?
  • How many resources were provided by the law and how many resources are available? How many resources are actually used?

Another argument that justifies the need of such an investigation is lack of information in the press about this issue. Journalists tend to drop topics that won’t bring clickable headlines. Thus maybe Swedish public is not at all concerned. Why was the parliament so concerned back in 2015 then?

Scope

The issue is nation-wide and deals with the representatives of the 5 language minorities and those concerned. It also deals with everyone involved in the schooling system since enforcing the law may potentially be a source of new workplaces. The third group is officials – in case it turns out they are the ones “to blame”. We are narrowing it down to Gothenburg municipality and its biggest minority, however the problems, patterns, and obstacles revealed in this small case may be significant on a nation-wide level.

Sources Methods
2015 minorities languages law Content analysis: what exact framework does the law set?
Gothenburg municipality demographic registry Data analysis: what does Gothenburg Romani population look like?
Gothenburg municipality public schools registry (?) Data analysis: how many schools are there, what resources do they already have, what resources do they lack?
Gothenburg municipality framework/policy papers/ job instructions dealing with executing this law Content analysis: how is the municipality executing this law? Who is responsible? What has been done?
Gothenburg municipality budget for 2016 and 2017 Content analysis: how much resources were allocated by Gothenburg municipality for granting minorities’ language rights? How were they spent?
Directors at Gothenburg schools Interview: why do their schools (not) provide Romani language classes?
Romani language teachers Interview: why do their schools (not) provide Romani language classes? Is there a demand among target audience or is it just the law?
Romani language students and parents Interview: what do they do to get their rights granted? Are there other offers on the market other than public schools for those to learn Romani language? Do they even care?
Diskriminerings Ombudsmannen Interview: Is the current situation within the legal framework?
Legal expert(s) Interview: Is the current situation within the legal framework?

Presentation

Minimum: a text accompanied by photos. If we have content for infographics, we go for it. If we realize there’s a touching human interest story to tell, we produce a touching and engaging video to go with the story.

Minority language – Fredrika

Subject

Children in Sweden whose native language is one of the five official minorities – Sami, Finnish, Meänkieli, Romani and Yiddish – are by law granted to get education in it. However, research has shown that municipals fail to provide these children sufficient education. Moreover the European Council har repeatedly criticised Sweden for poor minority management in the schools. Our group intend to investigate the reasons behind this issue in the municipality of Gothenburg.

Hypothesis

“Municipalities fail to ensure enough resources to meet minority languages regulations in school”. Lack of resources should not be a valid reason as to not teach children their native language in school when they are by law granted that right. The sole purpose of the 2015 law is to protect the status of the five official minority languages.

Need

Minority language education is protected in international laws and treaties. 2015 Swedish language education regulations were changed through a new law, which purpose is to protect the minorities’ status. Hence, all pupils from the national minorities got the expanded right to receive lessons in their ethnic group’s language at school even without the requirement that they or their parents have to speak the minority language. Yet the problem of insufficient language education still exists. We are of the firm belief that a lack of resources cannot justify this.

The new law was aimed at providing necessary resources to solve this problem. The Education Advisory Board stated that measures were going to be taken to make sure that a sufficient number of teachers were recruited to meet the need. However, our research has proven that there has been no progress regarding this issue since the law was passed.

Children of minority languages should be able to trust that they will receive the education they are granted in every subject. Our hope is that investigating and highlighting the reasons behind this issue will open up to the same discussion in other municipalities.

Scope

From our research, the language education appears to be a nation-wide problem. However, we will focus our investigation in the area in Gothenburg – the second largest city in Sweden. We will also narrow down the scope of investigation to one minority language – Romani – taking into consideration that neither Finnish, Sami, Meänkieli nor Yiddish are that prominent in Gothenburg.

Methods

For us to be able to conduct this investigation, we still have a vast amount of research to do. Through data analysis we hope to find the amount of children granted minority language education and also the the economic resources intended for this purpose.

We also plan to conduct interviews. Talking to teachers and pupils of national minorities will play a key role in our investigation. Local authorities, people responsible for the coordination of minority language education will be heard as well. Further, we will talk to spokespersons of ethnic minority interest organisations to hear their view on the scope of the issue. Talking to people out in the field (vox popping) might also be part of our investigation.

In addition, we intend to compare the Swedish management of minority language challenges to that of other European countries. We believe that trying to figure out how other countries have solved or are working to solve similar challenges could be useful to find answers to Sweden’s struggle to meet the demands. Naturally, we will also analyse documents such as laws and regulations connected to our subject.

Sources

As a result of our methods, the sources will be many in terms of number as well as type. Existing documents such as laws, regulations and court documents regarding the rights of minorities is naturally one part. Statistics about availability of minority language education in Sweden and the resources aimed at this is another vital piece of information.

Local officials and perhaps politicians will be used to explain the reasons behind language education not being as prioritised as the law demands. Interviews with minority rights activists and NGOs will help us understand the scope and consequences of the insufficient language education. There are probably no stats for the public opinion of Romani language education in Gothenburg, but we will still need to illustrate what the Gothenburg citizens think about this issue. To get hold of these attitudes we will interview locals in town. Evidently, key testimonies for our investigation will come from pupils of Romani national minority. Their (lack of) language education will be the very foundation of our work. These pupils will hopefully both be able to tell us about their personal experience of neglected language education as well as the emotional plane of the neglect. Teachers of minority languages will also play a key role to us. Their opinions will be vital as they can provide a professional and fact-based angle to the story.

Presentation

The results of our investigation will be presented as a whole on the MIJ blog. It will be composed of a written article along with photos of the key actors and a few videos. The video element may be presented as a news report if the case in the end of the project would be that the scope of material is enough to illustrate our findings.

Palestine: A recognized country without recognized human rights?

Subject

Asylum seekers from Gaza, Palestine, whose application gets rejected, are supposed to get back to Palestine through Egypt. The Egyptian government, however, almost never accepts visa application from Palestinians. The same goes for United Arab Emirates (UAE), another country where several Palestinians have fled from. In October a “sitting strike” will take place in Gothenburg where several stateless Palestinians in limbo will come together. After one to two weeks the strike will evolve into a hunger strike.

In 2014 the Migration Board in Sweden made a juridical statement that changed the status of Gaza to no longer being an armed conflict area. This meant that people may be deported to Gaza through Egypt. The statement of 2014 also made it easier to get visa applications to Egypt through the Migration Board, the Police or the Swedish embassy in Kairo. Furthermore, if the visa application has been made and rejected, or has not been answered within a reasonable time, it may constitute proof to get residency in Sweden. Year 2014 was also the year that Sweden internationally recognized Palestine as a country. Why is it then that Palestinians today, three years after this statement, are still in Limbo?

Hypothesis

Highest level:

The Swedish Migration Board violates Palestinian asylum seekers rights

–          Prove or disprove that the Migration Board has failed to deport Palestinian asylum seekers, despite its juridical statement in 2014.

Lowest level:

Palestinian asylum seekers who have got a deportation decision are in Limbo

–          Prove or disprove that Palestinian asylum seekers that has gotten deportation decisions are in Limbo, as a group and not just one or two individual cases.

Need

There is a need for this investigation on both individual level and for the Swedish society. Palestinians who are in Limbo has no rights; they do not have the right to neither housing nor jobs. This means great suffering on an individual level but may also increase the black market and criminality in Sweden. Furthermore, Sweden has gotten critic from Human Rights Watch for not following international human rights. The investigation could thus put pressure on the Swedish government to develop its praxis regarding Palestinian asylum seekers.

Scope

What has happened to Palestinian asylum seekers since the statement of the Migration Board in 2014 is unknown to the public. The scope is therefore not only local, as to where the strike will take place, but rather of national concern since there will be Palestinians coming to Gothenburg from all over Sweden. It is important on an individual lever for Palestinian asylum seekers that currently are in limbo, but could also make a change in the asylum seeking system. The investigation may also be international as it could harm Sweden’s reputation as violating human rights and the situation of Palestinians may be similar in other European countries.

Method

This investigation will use both a qualitative and a quantitative method using both statistics and in-depth interviews. In order to get an objective picture of the situation the affected Palestinians will be interviewed but also experts such as lawyers and human rights organizations, and also the Migration Board and the Migration minister of Sweden. The result will then be analyzed and put into a broader context by examining the actions of the Migration Board since 2014 up until 2017.

Sources

Documents:

·         Statistics about Palestinian asylum seekers 2014-2017 – Migration Board

·         Juridical statements – Migration Board

·         Announcement of the Swedish recognition of Palestine – Foreign Department

·         Documentation of the Asylum process – Palestinians

·         Interpellation 2015/16:173 ”Situationen för statslösa asylsökande palestinier i Sverige” – Swedish Parlament

 

Interviews:

·         Palestinian asylum seekers that has got deportation decisions

·         Lawyers

·         Human Rights Watch

·         FARR

·         Migration minister of Sweden

·         Officials from the Swedish Migration Board

 

Presentation

The situation of Palestinian asylum seekers is a current topic since around 20 Palestinians will come together for a strike in Gothenburg before the end of October. The aim is therefore to get the investigative article published by Swedish media, in Swedish, with accompanied video and pictures. Length: 1000 words.

 

2017.10.06

Pernilla Stammler Jaliff

Discrimination of the Sami people in Sweden [by Jessica]

Subject: Sami culture in Swedish education

Background

Samis are the indigenous people of Sweden and have, as many other indigenous people in the world, been mistreated and colonized through the history. The discrimination against the Samis is still a problem in the Swedish society where they are facing racism, prejudice, and ignorance. Mental illness is also a big problem among Samis and more than every second young Sami woman has had thoughts of committing suicide. As racism and prejudice often come from lack of knowledge, we want to investigate what the Swedish school actually is teaching its children. According to Skolverkets’ curriculum for elementary school, it is mandatory to teach students about the culture of minorities and Skolverket states following:

“The school is responsible for ensuring that every student after the compulsory school has acquired knowledge of the national minorities’ culture, language, religion, and history.”
Skolverket 2016

In the elementary school, the school will also strive against the fact that the students in the subject Swedish get an orientation in them different minority languages and in the subject of history gain knowledge about how cultural heritage has evolved in different national minorities.” – Nationella minoriteter i skolan, Skolverket 2007

Although growing up in Sweden, I do not have any memories of being taught of Sami culture or the Sami language in school, nor can my friends. A quick phone call to Sami interest organization also confirms my assumptions, Anna Skielta, the communicator at Samiskt informationscentrum says that the education about Samis is deficient.

Hypothesis

“Swedish children receive an insufficient amount of education about Sami people, although it is mandatory according to the law.”

If it is possible it would be interesting to compare the children’s knowledge about Sami culture with Native American culture. Our assumption is that Swedish children know more about the Native American culture than the Sami culture.

“Swedish children know more about Native Americans than about Swedish Samis”

Need

This investigation is crucial because, if our hypothesis is true, it can be an indication on how Sweden is suppressing the Samis. The Sami culture is a part of the Swedish culture and history, by not teaching Swedish students about it, the alienation and racism remain.  

Scope

We have decided to look at students and their education in ninth grade, which is the last year of elementary school. Since this is an issue concerning the whole Sweden we don’t want to limit to a certain region, though we might have to due limits of time. At least when it comes to interviewing students and teachers.

Methods

To be able to do this investigation we need to find out what Swedish children are being taught in the school and what they have learned. Therefore if it is possible, quantitative interviews/tests with children would be preferable. However we might not have the time to do this, then interviews with the teachers on their teaching about Sami would be interesting. And also find out what recommendations/support they get from Skolverket in this matter. By creating a small survey on e.g Survey Monkey, send it on email and ask the teachers to answer we could find this out.

To see how Skolverket is treating this issue we want to look at national tests in Swedish and social science for the last ten years and see if there have been any questions about Sami. If they really think it is important to know about Sami culture the test should include some questions about them. We would also like to go through the recommended reading books for the students and see how much information about the Samis that can be found. However, books may include a lot of information but not all are used. We would also like to talk to Skolverket to see how they think that they are handling the question.

We want to do interviews with Sami organizations to get their point of view of the matter. Storytelling-wise it would also be good to talk to a Sami who has been discriminated due to the lack of knowledge about their culture (=anybody who has been discriminated) and show how this is affecting people in Sweden.

If our hypothesis is proven to be right, then we should talk to responsible politicians and ask them why the situation is like this and what they are going to do to change it.

Sources

Data
  • National tests
  • School books
  • Polls with teachers & students
  • Teachers education – What are they being taught to teach their students?
  • Report: At the Margin of Educational Policy:Sámi/Indigenous Peoples in the Swedish
    National Curriculum, 2011, Charlotta Svonni, Umeå University.
Interviews
  • Anna Skielta, communicator at  Samiskt informationscentrum
  • Anna-Lill Drugge, Ph.D. Researcher at Umeå University, in Sami history
  • Gaaltije foundation, a cultural center about Sapmi
  • A discriminated Sami
  • Responsible people at Skolverket
  • Students
  • Politicians

Presentation

The goal is that this will be presented in an investigative report followed by a video in a news outlet. The organization Samiskt informationscentrum (Sami.se) has also said that they wish to get hold of and publish our results.