Work on homelessness intensified by improving housing advice – Ministry of the Environment launches process to enact legislation on advice
The Government aims is to halve the number of homeless people during this Government term and to eradicate homelessness in the following years. Among the means used to eradicate homelessness is housing advice, and the Ministry of the Environment has launched a process to enact legislation on this.
The aim of the legislative project is to expand housing advice and to ensure adequate access to it regardless of the type of housing and location.
“Having a home is a fundamental right that belongs to all. Finland has succeeded in reducing the number of homeless people, but the risk of homelessness is still real for even larger groups of people. More and more often, the risk of homelessness is linked to financial problems, and studies have shown that housing advice is a very effective way of preventing and reducing homelessness caused by such reasons,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Emma Kari.
Based on a study by a working group
In line with the Programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government, access to housing advice will be ensured by making it a statutory obligation. The process to prepare the legislation was started on the basis of the study conducted by the working group on enacting legislation on housing advice.
The working group was composed of representatives of different stakeholders involved in or offering housing advice. Its task was to analyse alternative ways to enact legislation on housing advice. The working group published its final report in spring 2021, and the feedback received in consultations will be used in preparing the legislation as well.
Act into force for a fixed term
Already during 2022, the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland ARA helps the municipalities in providing housing advice by awarding government grants for developing and expanding housing advice and advice on financial matters related to this. Agreements are concluded between the municipalities and ARA on the use of the funds. Previously, the scope of the government grants was more limited as it only concerned the housing stock of ARA.
The legislative drafting that has now been launched will start by redefining the principles of the cooperation between ARA and municipalities in the provision of housing advice, which would still be based on grants awarded to municipalities. At first, the Act would be in force for a fixed term, followed by an evaluation of how well housing advice and the related legislation work.
The aim is to circulate the draft Act to be commented on by all relevant stakeholders at the end of spring 2022. The Government proposal for the Act is to be given in the autumn in connection with the budget proposal for 2023. The Act would enter into force in the beginning of 2023.
Senior Officer, Legal Affairs
+358 295 250 332