hotel … well, sort of

In Gothenburg, Sweden, you can book a stay in, say …

a city park or empty paper mill,

an abandoned café or a dark corner of a fishing wharf.

Mind you, it was only about 20°F in Gothenburg last week.


These accommodations are all about empathy, not luxury.


Photo by Mikko J. Putkonen via Wikimedia Commons

Gothenberg, Sweden’s second largest city, has about 3,400 homeless people within its limits, and Swedish advertising agency Forsman and Bodenfors is determined to chip away at that number using an unusual tactic:

Faktum Hotels. (And you thought this post was leading into something to do with April Fools Day.)

“We have chosen 10 of the places where the homeless might spend the night and made it possible for you to book a place. Just like any hotel,” explains the F&B website. “You can book for yourself or as a gift for somebody else. Either way, the money goes to our work for homeless and socially vulnerable people.”

Personally, I’m partial to Room Number One. For about 15 bucks, you get to nestle into a well-worn sleeping bag in a private grove of Haga Park …


Photo courtesy of

Okay, let’s get real.

If the notion of packing your jammies for a night on a park bench makes you shudder, rest assured.

Faktum Hotels are actually an elaborate work of fiction, but the idea is catchy, and the mission has a heart.

“Faktum Hotels are not real hotels where you can book real hotel accommodations. It’s a smart way to support Gothenburg’s street newspaper, Faktum,” the Faktum founders who are using the money for a good cause confess. “We provide those most in need with an occupation. This helps them to take a step towards a more structured life, as the work involves responsibility, routine, and the opportunity for a positive social exchange—things that are vitally important when trying to find somewhere to live. Or build a life, for that matter.”

Do you think this sort of scheme would fly here in the U.S.?


Leave a comment 2 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    The Swedes have a great idea here. Finding creative ways to address homelessness is difficult as there is not one simple solution and funding is always a huge barrier. I do like the idea of the hotel as both a unique way to raise money as well as the start reality of what a homeless person looks for when shelter is needed. This scheme might fly in the US in a select community but there are so many ordinances that would have to be obeyed that it could be tricky. The sleeping outside was a huge issue in Occupation WallStreet in 2011 for protesters in various areas.

  2. Sus King says:

    This is to bring attention to a problem and the solution. It’s like the stay-home soirées you may have gotten invites for: just send is money to help our cause and skip the money spent on ballroom rental, catering, etc. In this case the money helps hire homeless. The only legal limits are, thank goodness, the charity is registered and subject to scrutiny.

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