What better way to heighten awareness of homelessness, while at the same time raising money for a local charity? Faktum Hotels in Gothenburg, Sweden has managed just that with an ingenious project that has been enjoying much success in the city.
The hotel is unique in that it doesn’t actually have any rooms. Instead they offer what they call the complete homeless experience. Customers book online, much like any other hotel. However, upon arrival guests are lead to a pre determined place where the real homeless of Gothenburg might spend their nights.
The hotel handpicks the locations, giving customers a choice of 10 possible locations. A ‘room’ at the Faktum Hotel costs $10 a night. Locations including, a spot under a bridge, a derelict factory, a park bench, a local forest and beneath the seats at a football stadium.
Paying guests can choose whether they wish to sleep at a given destination or not. And should anyone get cold feet at the prospect, the money goes to a good cause all the same. All the revenues earned by the Faktum Hotel are used to support the charity works of Faktum Magazine – a publication set up much like the Big Issue in the United Kingdom. Homeless people sell the magazine on the streets, earning a small income from the proceeds.
The website could be accused of glamorizing the notion of sleeping under the stars. The high quality images included in the gallery and through out this article are taken directly from the Faktum website. They almost make the experience look inviting.
The descriptions of the rooms do not escape artistic licence either. It’s not often you hear the prospect of sleeping in an underpass as: ‘Feel the city’s pulse from dawn to dusk at Gullbergsvass. This delightful dwelling is just a stroll from the romantic Dreamer’s Quay: a source of inspiration to musicians and artists alike.”
Or a city park as: “The park at Haga is an idyllic location in striking distance of the city’s amenities. Overlooked by Haga’s exquisite church, this idyllic spot invites you to explore cosy cafés and fashionable second-hand shops along cobbled streets.”
However, the important issue and clearly the intent of the hotel is to actually get people to book the experience in the first place. Only by participating can the public really begin to have insight into the plight of the 3400-odd homeless people currently living in Gothenburg.
The intention of the project is a noble one, and it is great to see that the Faktum Hotel has been operating for a number of years now. Using technology and social media to great effect, (it is possible to buy gift certificates for friends via the website and Facebook) along with the ‘sharable’ nature of what is evidently a unique approach to helping the homeless – the Faktum Hotel is definitely worth supporting.
[Photo credits: Håkan Ludwigson]