Finnish Plan to Reduce Long-Term Homelessness


Other | May 1, 2012


Reducing Long-Term Homelessness Plan

Background Memorandum

Excerpt from "Background Memorandum":

The programme to reduce long-term homelessness was implemented in 2008–2011, on the basis of a Government resolution. Ten cities with the most pressing homelessness problem were included in the programme (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku, Kuopio, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti and Joensuu). Quantitative targets set for the programme are about to be met, and the goal of halving homelessness will be realised in seven of the programme cities. The programme’s objective was to provide 1,250 new dwellings, supported housing units or places in a care facility. A total of 1,697 dwellings will be provided to the long-term homeless through the programme. By the end of 2011, 1,203 new dwellings were in use, while some will be made available during 2012.

Approximately 200 million euros were allocated for the overall funding of the programme. Of this, the state accounts for 170 million euros, the municipalities for 10.3 million euros and the Finnish Slot Machine Association RAY for 20.5 million euros. ARA reserved 80 million euros in investment grants for groups with special needs, of which approximately 67.5 million euros has been allocated through decisions made in 2008–2011. Interest subsidy loans as a share of total funding equalled that of investment grants. In addition, 10.3 million euros of funding from the KASTE programme of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health was reserved for employing additional staff. This grant was used to employ 205 new support workers in services for homeless people. Funding from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health covered 50% of the payroll expenses for extra staff, while municipalities covered the remainder of operating expenses. RAY supported both the acquisition of supported housing and development projects within the programme.

The reduction programme is based on proposals by the so-called Group of the Wise and the programme’s working group. These proposals were premised on the elimination of long-term homelessness by 2015. Carried out in broad partnership between the state, municipalities and several organisations, the reduction programme created prime conditions for the implementation of a new programme to eradicate long-term homelessness.

There is strong justification for the elimination of long-term homelessness on humane and ethical grounds, and on grounds of social cohesion.