Last updated: 5/7-2023
You have the right to grow up in a secure environment. The social services in your municipality are responsible for your housing.
When you arrive in Sweden, it is the first municipality you come into contact with that is responsible for arranging temporary accommodation for you. You will only stay there for a few days. The Migration Agency then decides in which Swedish municipality you are going to live. If you have close relatives who live in Sweden, you will have the opportunity to move to the municipality in which they live.
There are different types of housing:
- HVB homes, or homes for care or residence
- Auxiliary accommodation
- Family homes
- Your own flat
- SiS homes (special homes for young people provided by the National Board of Institutional Care, SiS)
It is important that the social services listen to you and discuss with you and your legal guardian what type of housing might suit you. The social services will then make an assessment of what type of housing is most appropriate. In this they will consider:
- Your needs
- Your age
- Your development
- Your personal circumstances
The assessment will also consider what types of housing are available in the municipality and what providers the municipality has agreements with.
The social services are also responsible for ensuring that you:
- Receive an appropriate education
- Receive the health care, medical care and dental care you need
- Receive support if you need it, for example a contact person or a contact family
- Receive support to contact your family
Children and young people who have arrived in Sweden without their parents live in HVB homes.
The National Board of Health and Welfare has made a film with information for children and young people living in HVB homes.
The HVB home will provide you with food, a bed, and clothes. Homes are staffed around the clock, and the staff are there to help you and give you support. You can speak to the staff about anything that is important to you.
It is important that you feel safe in the home. You may have had difficult experiences in the recent past. The staff is there to listen to you and help you in dealing with difficult emotions. The staff also have to be able to assess if you need other forms of support. It may be that you need support because you use drugs, because you are not well or because you have an impairment.
In order for everyone at the HVB home to feel safe and well there have to be rules. These rules have to be defined together with everyone who is living in the HVB home, and everyone who lives or works in the HVB home has to know what the rules are.
Auxiliary accommodation is intended for young people between the ages of 16 and 20, but mainly for those who are 18 or older. Auxiliary accommodation can be a flat or a room where you share a kitchen and other social areas with other young people. Auxiliary accommodation includes furniture and kitchen utensils.
Auxiliary accommodation is intended to prepare for your getting your own home. You will be expected to take greater responsibility than you did in your previous accommodation. The idea is for you to be responsible yourself for cooking and cleaning. The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that there are rules at the home.
There still has to be staff at the home who can help you and provide support. This support might be in practical matters, for example, but they are also there to talk about feelings and other things that are important to you. Staff have to be available around the clock and be prepared to visit the home when they are needed.
A family home is a family that receives you in their home. It might be a family you already know, such as a relative or someone close to you. These are known as network homes. But it could also be a family that you don't know from before.
The social services examine all family homes. What this means is that the social services use various ways to find out if the family is well suited to receive a child or young person in their home.
The family home will provide you with food, a bed, and clothes. The idea is for you to feel safe there and to become like a member of the family. The family home has to take responsibility for your schooling, leisure, health, and for your contacts with government agencies.
The National Board of Health and Welfare have made a film with information for young people living in a family home.
If you have been granted a residence permit, are 18 or older, and show that you can look after yourself and your home in a good way, you may also be offered the opportunity to live in your own flat. This may be a flat that the municipality lets you stay in until you have a chance to arrange your own flat, or else you may be invited to take over the flat and have your name on the contract. If you need to, you can continue having contact with your social welfare officer as well as a contact person who visits you every now and then to see how you are doing. Most unaccompanied young people are discharged from the social services when they turn 21.
Young people who are unable to live in an ordinary HVB home can live in what is known as an SiS home instead. SiS homes are run by a government agency, the National Board of Institutional Care (Statens institutionsstyrelse, or SiS, in Swedish). SiS homes are for young people who are in care under the Care for Young Persons (Special Provisions) Act, known as LVU in Swedish. If the social services determine that your conduct is detrimental to your own health and development, and if you don't voluntarily collaborate in care efforts, you may be placed in an SiS home.
Everyday activities at an SiS home include attending school classes, training social skills, group discussions and individual counselling with a psychologist, for example. SiS homes have a large staff who are there to help you and give you support.
Staff at SiS homes may use coercion if necessary. This means that the staff may:
- Take away things you are not allowed to have
- Decide that you are going to be confined to a closed ward
- Stop you interacting with other people at the SiS home
- Go through your clothes or bags
Staff have to try to reason with you before using coercion, which can only be used when absolutely necessary. If the staff use coercion they have to explain to you why. Coercion may not be used to punish your for something you have done.
If there are problems in your home
If there are problems in your home you should speak first to your family if it is a family home, or the staff if it is an HVB home, an SiS home, or auxiliary accommodation. If that does not help, speak to your social welfare officer. If you are living in an HVB home, in auxiliary accommodation or in an SiS home, you can also speak to the supervisor.
IVO (Inspektionen för vård och omsorg, or the Health Care Inspectorate) monitors the different types of homes to ensure that they comply with legislation. If there are problems where you are living, or in your contacts with the social services, you can phone IVO.
You can also contact the Parliamentary Ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen, or JO) who also monitors the social services' and the homes' compliance with the law.
When you are placed in a home you have to be given current contact information for the social welfare officer who is in charge of your case. You also have to be given information about how to contact IVO and what your rights are in terms of:
- Taking part in planning your care
- Reading what has been written about you in medical records
- Speaking with representatives of the social welfare committee
- Making complaints and suggestions to the social welfare committee
If the home you are in does not fulfil your needs you may need to change homes. If you don't feel safe in your home, for instance, or if you are not getting the support and guidance you need. It may be the social services that discover your need to change homes, or it may be you or your legal guardian that does not think the home is working out. Another reason you might have to change homes could be that the family home or accommodation finds that they are unable to manage.
If you have children
If you are under 18 years old and have your own child, it is very important that you get the support you need in order to look after your child in the best possible way. That support may be from your legal guardian, someone at your home, or your social welfare officer. Even if you yourself receive help from the social services, you are still the person who is responsible for the care of your child. Contact the person you feel most at ease talking to, and discuss what you need to know and learn in order to be a good parent in Sweden. Are there perhaps differences between being a parent in Sweden and being one in your homeland?
As long as you are under 18 years old you are still a child under Swedish law. That means that it may be necessary to appoint a special guardian who will be in charge of financial matters regarding your child. If the other parent of the child is over 18, s/he may be made the child's guardian.