The Finnish National Programme to reduce long-term homelessness: Synthesis Report

In February 2008, the Finnish Government adopted a programme aimed at halving long-term homelessness by 2011. Based on the “housing first” principle, which considers that appropriate accommodation is a prerequisite for solving other social and health problems, the programme includes an ambitious goal to convert all traditional short-term shelters into supported housing units that facilitate independent living. A total of 1,250 additional homes, supported housing units or places in care are expected to be made available. What’s more, the programme includes projects aimed at providing supported housing for recently released prisoners, reducing youth homelessness and preventing evictions, e.g. by providing and expanding housing advisory services. The programme is based on a comprehensive partnership approach between the central government, which provides 50% of the programme’s financing, and the country’s ten largest cities affected by homelessness, which fund the remaining half. Financial support for the basic renovation of shelters and their conversion into supported housing units is also provided by the Finnish Slot Machine Association. The Peer Review will seek to assess the programme’s success and to exchange experiences with countries that are implementing or preparing similar national programmes or strategies to reduce long-term homelessness.

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