European snapshot homeless survey: Results of questions asked of passers-by in 11 European cities


Correspondence: ProfessorDavidBrandon Anglia Polytechnic University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT Fax: +012 233 63271; Email:


Passers-by were interviewed outside McDonalds restaurants in 11 European cities during November and December 1998. Eight questions were asked, mainly exploring the stigma levels of a particularly socially and economically excluded group (homeless people) and also the preferred remedies for homelessness. Answers varied, especially between the countries in Western Europe and those in the former Warsaw Pact countries. Stigma levels were very high in Bucharest, Kiev and Zagreb, presumably making resettlement work difficult. People in these cities saw homeless people as ‘dangerous’: repositories of infectious disease and likely to make unprovoked attacks. Most passers-by also believed homeless people were under threat, especially from the police, sometimes from other passers-by, from exposure to the winters and, in Cambridge, Vienna and Zagreb, from malnutrition. Suggested remedies were increased employment, improved training and increased affordable housing, rather than the imprisonment of beggars.