North Vienna Gets Its First Daytime Shelter for the Homeless

Nord_light in Vienna’s 22nd District will provide shelter, beds, food, laundry and showers – the first such offer north of the Donau.

“No one decides from one day to the next, ‘I’m just going to be homeless and get on everyone else’s nerves,’” said City Councilor for Social Affairs Peter Hacker (SPÖ) at the opening of Nord_light in Vienna’s 22nd district this week.

Nord_light, operated by the welfare organization Volkshilfe, is the city’s first daytime homeless shelter north of the Danube and offers space for up to 70 people. Situated at Dr.-Otto-Neurath-Gasse 1, it has four quiet rooms with 16 beds, of which one is reserved for women. Visitors will be provided with “simple meals and drinks,” as well “bed sheets, towels and hygiene articles,” public broadcaster ORF reported on its website. “Moreover, guests can shower, wash laundry and secure their valuables and documents.” The site is open to anyone over age 18, including their pets.

Nord_light is the eighth daytime shelter to open in Vienna, bringing the total number of available daytime spaces up to 600, FSW told Metropole. In the winter, partner organizations (including churches and others) offer additional daytime Wärmestube (warm parlors) where people are served soup and can stay in from the cold.

Homelessness is an often overlooked aspect of city life, and one that other cities often leave to private charities. Welfare organizations (church-run and secular) also do tremendous work in Vienna, but here the Fonds Soziales Wien (FSW, Social Fund of Vienna) helps to “plan, guide and organize” that work, which covers everything from protection to re-housing, among the 30 partner organizations.

In the nighttime, some 6,700 living and sleeping spaces are available, FSW representative Jakob Reisinger told Metropole in an email. These range from emergency night quarters to dorm-style residences, to “supervised apartments, where people are supported on their way to finding their own four walls to live in.” The fact that Vienna has sufficient beds to meet demand in the winter is especially important. “In Vienna, there is no room to be socially ‘cold’. Especially in winter, no one should have to sleep outdoors and endanger their health.”

In Vienna there were nearly 12,000 homeless people in 2018, according to FSW statistics, though they note that there are almost certainly more out there who are “invisible” – FSW numbers reflect only those people who make use of at least one of their various programs.


Naomi Hunt
Naomi Hunt is a managing editor at Metropole, with roots in the U.S. and Malaysia that have long been buried under Austrian soil. She previously served as a program manager at the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) and was a Senior Press Freedom Adviser at the International Press Institute (IPI).

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!


RECENT Articles

Hold the Line

With cases skyrocketing again in Europe, it is time to remember the advice a public health expert gave us in April: The virus is unforgiving to unwise choices.

Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | 8 Out of 9 Austrian Federal States on Ger...

The coronavirus has arrived in Austria. Here’s all you need to know about current measures, including where to get help, information and tips – updated regularly.

Facing the Closed-Door Topic of Migrants and Sexual Assault

While most crime is down, alarming increases in violence against women, often by recent migrants, increases the pressure on efforts to support successful integration.

Black Voices – ‘Writing History’ in Austria

Following the popular Black Lives Matter protest in Vienna, young activists launched a Citizens’ Initiative demanding a national action plan against racism.

Vienna Election – The Greens Call for Unity as the SPÖ Weighs its Options

The mayor’s delegation will meet with all the parties before formal coalition negotiations begin on October 26.

Meet Mary Larunsi, an Austrian Fashion Model With Nigerian Roots

“What you see in the pictures is not necessarily the reality. I don’t get flown anywhere in a private jet with a glass of champagne in my hand. In the end, it’s hard work.”


Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.