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In Finland, the number of homeless people has fallen sharply. The reason: The country applies the “Housing First” concept.
Those affected by homelessness receive a small apartment and counselling – without any preconditions.
4 out of 5 people affected thus make their way back into a stable life. And: All this is cheaper than accepting homelessness.
It is NGOs such as the “Y-Foundation” that provide housing for people in need. They take care of the construction themselves, buy flats on the private housing market and renovate existing flats.
The apartments have one to two rooms.
In addition to that, former emergency shelters have been converted into apartments in order to offer long-term housing.
“It was clear to everyone that the old system wasn’t working; we needed radical change,” says Juha Kaakinen, Director of the Y-Foundation.
“We know already that it pays back because we have expenses elsewhere if people are homeless. They have more severe health problems which are then taken to emergency care and hospital,’ explained Helsinki’s deputy mayor Sanna Vesikansa.