Action Plan for Preventing Homelessness in Finland 2016–2019

In accordance with the Government Programme of the Government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, the work on reducing homelessness will continue while taking account of the proposals of the AUNE working group. During the programme to reduce long-term homelessness (PAAVO 2008–2015), the Housing First principle has been implemented in the work on homelessness and shelters have been replaced by housing units based on supported rental housing.

During the programme period, long-term homelessness decreased by 1,345 persons (35%). In 2015, homelessness decreased for the first time to fewer than 7,000 people. According to FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless, Finland is the only EU country in which homelessness continues to decrease despite the economic recession and social pressures. Even though the bold goal of removing long-term homelessness was not reached, according to the international assessment of the programme by researchers, the work to eradicate homelessness produced undeniable results, and Finland is one of the best examples of applying the Housing First principle successfully.

In the challenging economic situation, the prevention and reduction of homelessness require special coordinating measures. This means not only integrated service networks strengthened through programme work and the early identification of problems leading to homelessness, but also the sufficient production of reasonably priced housing in all of the largest urban areas. The researchers also emphasised that in reducing homelessness in the future, investments should be made especially in the production of reasonably priced rental housing in the Helsinki metropolitan area, the development of services that ensure successful housing and prevention.

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