New programme aims to end long-term homelessness
The Ministry of the Environment has introduced a programme to eradicate long-term homelessness. The aim of the programme is to end long-term homelessness by 2027.
According to the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland ARA, in 2022 the number of people classified as long-term homeless persons in Finland was more than 1,100. This is 185 persons less than in the previous year. Still in 2008, the number of people who were without a home for more than a year or repeatedly over a period of three years was about 3,600.
“The trend is in the right direction and we must keep up the good work. However, long-term homelessness is still of serious problem as every person has the right to have a home. We will work hard to make sure that in future there is no long-term homelessness in Finland,” Minister of Climate and the Environment Kai Mykkänen says.
Important work to solve the housing issue has been done for a long time and the complexity of the problem is well known. Based on the work done earlier we know that, besides housing, many people who are homeless for a long time also need various kinds of health and social services. They may have financial problems or substance abuse and mental health issues. Some of them cannot cope in regular housing even with strong support; instead, small units of supported housing are needed for them.
Matters within the administrative branches of the Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, i.e. housing and services that support this, are both at the heart of the work to reduce long-term homelessness. Besides close cooperation between these two administrative branches, the programme will further enhance collaboration between cities, wellbeing services counties and the central government.
“The Government’s target is ambitious, but with persistent efforts it can be achieved. In the past government terms systematic actions have been taken to reduce homelessness and there is a broad consensus in society on how important this is. During the present term, special attention should be paid to ensuring seamless cooperation between cities, wellbeing services counties and the state,” says Daniel Sazonov, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki and chair of the management group of the programme.
In line with the Government Programme, permanent funding will be allocated to end long-term homelessness. A more detailed plan will be drawn up for targeting the funding.
In addition, housing units intended for long-term homeless people is funded by investment subsidies and interest-subsidy loans granted by the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland ARA. Cities and wellbeing services counties participating in the programme can apply for funding for investments that aim to end long-term homelessness and for the development and introduction of social and health services.
Work to fight against homelessness is also supported by actions where state-subsidised rental apartments are targeted to those who need them the most and the efforts to prevent evictions, such as advice related to housing. Housing supply is linked to homelessness, which is why the Government will promote a well-functioning housing market and adequate housing construction especially in growth centres, including through the negotiations on the agreements for land use, housing and transport that are currently under way.
A management group appointed for the programme will invite all parties involved in its implementation to the programme group. The programme period is 1 January 2024–31 December 2026.
- The composition of the management group, more detailed objectives and measures are specified in the appointment letter at Gateway to Information on Government Projects (in Finnish).
Senior Ministerial Adviser
tel. +358 295 250 146
tel. +358 45 129 6812