Homelessness in Finland
Like everywhere in the world, homelessness is a difficult and a persistent phenomenon also in Finland. Often a combination of different social and health problems, such as substance abuse and/or mental health problems, unemployment etc. On the other hand a great number of homeless people are just in need of an own apartment and living with relatives or friends.
In November 2010 there were 7877 single homeless people and 349 homeless families in Finland. Since the 1980's when the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA) started annual municipal inquiries about homelessness the number of homeless people has decreased by roughly 10000 people until 2010. The number of single homeless people has been around 8000 since 2003. People defined as long-term homeless were 3079 in 2010 (39 %). Read more about homelessness and long-term homelessness in Finland, their characteristics and statistics and get acquainted with Finnish actors fighting these phenomena.
Government programmes to reduce long-term homelessness
For years homelessness has been recognized as a problem that needs to be solved not only in the municipal level but also with the aid of national level political initiatives. Different Governments have included the fight against homelessness in their programmes since 1999.
Despite of the measures taken, homelessness has not disappeared. By 2008, the homeless who were easier to house, had been housed. That still left out the long-term homeless who had difficult social and health problems and housing needs with significant amount of services, support and/or monitoring. Since 2007 the latest two governments have had the challenge of decreasing especially long-term homelessness in their agenda. The first Finnish National Programme to Reduce Long-Term Homelessness succeeded in halving the long-term homelessness by 2011 and the newest government programme “An open, fair and confident Finland” for years 2011-2015 suggests continuation for the Long-Term Homelessness Reduction Programme, aiming to end long-term homelessness in Finland by 2015.