The Y-Säätiö was set up in December 1985 to tackle a severe housing shortage. There was an acute shortage of small flats in particular. The basic mission of the Y-Säätiö was to provide rental housing from the existing housing stock for people living alone and experiencing homelessness.

In 1985, there were nearly 20 000 people without a home in Finland. More than 95 % of them were single-person households. Nine out of ten were men.

The situation was unbearable. Ilkka Taipale, a doctor, and Heikki S. von Hertzen, then Deputy Mayor of Helsinki, set out to create a foundation to help those experiencing homelessness. The Y-Säätiö was set up in December 1985 by a number of social partners. Amongst others, the major Finnish cities were involved.

Hannu Puttonen, M.Sc. in Economics, was elected as the first Executive Director of Y-Säätiö and served as its CEO until his retirement in 2012. In 2013, Juha Kaakinen was elected CEO. Mr Kaakinen had studied literature at the University of Helsinki and sociology and social policy at the Faculty of Political Science. He graduated from the University of Helsinki in 1977. Mr Kaakinen served as CEO of Y-Säätiö for 10 years, retiring at the end of 2022.

The letter “Y” in the name of the foundation came from the word “alone” at its inception. It referred to the Y-Säätiö’s mission to help people living alone to get a home of their own.

Today, the letter Y is thought to mean together. It means the Y-Säätiö’s way of working on homelessness in broad cooperation with different actors in Finland and internationally.

The annual target was to provide homes for thousands of

1987 was the International Year of the Homeless, declared by the UN. In Finland, the government set a target of eradicating homelessness within five years. The annual target was to provide housing for 4 000 people.

The main responsibility lay with the municipalities, but the authors of the homelessness eradication programme set the newly established Y-Säätiö the target of providing housing for 2 000 people, which meant 200 homes a year. By the end of 1991, the Y-Säätiö had acquired 1 470 homes.

The acquisition of individual housing shares from housing companies with the support of STEA remains the core activity of the Foundation. In the 2000s, the activities were significantly extended to new construction and ARA rental housing.

The Y-Säätiö also implemented a number of special housing projects for mentally retarded people and people with substance abuse problems to meet local needs. The Foundation built service homes for the elderly and ordinary rental houses with ARA investment grants and interest subsidy loans.

The number of affordable dwellings increased

In 2014, Y-Säätiö set a goal to increase the number of affordable ARA rental homes in its housing stock, as affordable homes were seen as the best way to prevent homelessness. The goal was to produce ARA rental homes themselves or buy them from others.

The challenge proved to be the scarcity of ARA plots. However, 2015 was a year of growth as the Y-Foundation first acquired 760 ARA rental homes from SATO.

At the end of the same year, a letter of intent was signed for the Y-Säätiö to purchase more than 8 600 subsidised apartments from the VVO Group.

The transaction was completed in summer 2016. The affordable rental housing stock became the largest housing option offered by Y-Säätiö in terms of volume. Y-Säätiö Group was born. The Y-Apartments rented under ARA conditions were renamed M2-Kodit.

Today, the Y-Säätiö owns more than 18 500 apartments in almost 60 locations. They are divided into Y-Homes and M2-Homes.

Background organisations

The founders of Y-Säätiö are:

Suomen Kuntaliitto
Espoon kaupunki
Helsingin kaupunki
Tampereen kaupunki
Turun kaupunki
Vantaan kaupunki
Rakennusliitto ry
Suomen Mielenterveysseura ry
Suomen Punainen Risti
Rakennusteollisuus RT ry
Alko Oy