The Ministry of the Environment named Juha Kaakinen examine ways to achieve the goal of ending homelessness. According to the government programme, homelessness should be halved during this government term and abolished by 2027. Homelessness has decreased but not enough to reach the target.
Finland is the only country in Europe to have succeeded in reversing the trend of homelessness.
According to a survey conducted by the Housing Finance and Development Center of Finland ARA in 2021, there were 3,948 homeless people living alone. Homelessness has decreased during the implementation of the cooperation program to halve homelessness, which can be considered a significant achievement. It was feared that the COVID-19 pandemic would increase the number of evictions, but that was not the case. In 2020, homelessness decreased by 5.6% and in 2021 by 9%. In the previous homelessness program the decrease was 2-5.1%.
“Having a home is a fundamental right, and it is completely untenable that this is not achieved in a prosperous welfare state like Finland. We need reasonably priced apartments, sufficient social security and of services that support housing. While the trend is in the right direction, it is clear that we have not yet done enough,” says Minister of Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo.
The rapporteur’s proposal, due to be completed by the end of January 2023, explores the concrete steps needed to end homelessness and the role of different stakeholders in this work. Previously, rapporteur Juha Kaakinen served as CEO of the Y-Foundation and program director of the program to reduce long-term homelessness.
“Finland’s particular strengths in reducing homelessness include the strong political consensus on the importance of the issue and the cooperation between a wide range of actors. With these strengths, it is entirely possible to eradicate homelessness, despite the current challenges,” says Kaakinen. .
Financial problems increase the risk of losing your home
Especially in larger urban areas, where the majority of the homeless also live, housing prices pose problems, especially for low-income people and special groups. The nature of homelessness has changed so that it is even more often associated with financial problems and an even greater number of people are at risk.
Housing advice has proven to be an effective way to avoid losing one’s home for financial reasons. The Environment Ministry’s legislative proposal would improve access to housing advice, and this year municipalities have already hired 23 new housing advisers.
“Housing advice can help people to manage their lives. It can avoid a vicious cycle where financial problems lead to homelessness, which makes financial problems worse. With the additional funding provided by the state, we can ensure that municipalities will continue to offer housing advice free of charge,” says Ohisalo.
The reasons for homelessness are multiple, which means that specialized social and housing services are also needed. Health and social care services have an important role to play in ensuring that a person who has experienced homelessness and has found accommodation is also able to maintain it.
An evaluation of the Cooperative Program to Halve Homelessness is currently underway, but we already know that municipalities, towns and cities are now more strongly committed to action.
“Municipalities have good multidisciplinary expertise accumulated over a long period, and we must ensure that it is preserved now that the responsibility for health and social care services is transferred to the new departments of welfare services. The problem cannot be solved without close cooperation between different sectors, NGOs and the State,” underlines Minister Ohisalo.
The government’s housing policy aims to eradicate homelessness by 2027. The government’s program aims to pay particular attention to improving access to housing advice and proactively preventing homelessness. homelessness. Among the groups of people, particular emphasis will be placed on young people and immigrants.
Source: Ministry of the Environment