International affairs

Ending Homelessness in Finland

In recent decades, Finland is the only country in the European Union where homelessness has decreased. The National Homelessness Programmes that started in 2008 have achieved excellent results and ending homelessness is a shared goal. The 2014 international peer review of the Long-term Homelessness Reduction Programme highlighted the effectiveness of Finnish homelessness policy and the innovative Housing First approach.

Comprehensive homelessness work based on a nationwide programme remains exceptional in Europe. Dormitories are still the most common solution to the problem. Housing first work has been mainly individual pilot projects without comprehensive networking and information sharing. The Housing First Europe Hub, led by Y-Säätiö and FEANTSA, aims to address this need by strengthening cooperation between European actors.

Finland is an active member of FEANTSA, the European umbrella organisation for homelessness actorsIts various networks and forums act as European platforms for research and advocacy on homelessness. Each year, FEANTSA raises key issues, for example at conferences. In 2016, FEANTSA published the Housing First Guide Europe.

The European Union has developed strategic tools to support homelessness work in its Member States. The Finnish Homelessness Prevention Programme (AUNE) was based on a project partly funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) for urban strategy work. The use of European financial instruments is designed to support the functioning of countries’ own social policy structures and, in particular, to assist in the launching of poverty prevention policies.

Y-Säätiö’s International Work

We are committed to ending homelessness in Finland and to reducing homelessness internationally. The finnish Housing First model has gained excellent results and we do our best to share our knowledge and best practices in combatting homelessness. This can mean training, consulting, hosting visits, speaking engagements, research, media interviews, and international networking.

We are a member of the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), the only major European network that focuses its work exclusively on homelessness. We are joined in Finland by the Helsinki Deaconess Institute, Vailla vakinaista asuntoa ry, Asukasliitto and Nuorisoasuntoliitto.

Together with FEANTSA we founded The Housing First Europe Hub in 2016. Since then, the Hub has grown to include more than 45 organisations, cities, government ministries, housing providers and researchers from across Europe and beyond. The Hub promotes Housing First as the first and central response to homelessness through advocacy, training, practice, research, support and communication activities.

In 2023, Y-Säätiö founded the Nordic Homelessness Alliance. The idea behind the alliance was to deepen partnerships between the Nordic countries that have similar welfare systems. The ultimate aim for the Nordic Homelessness Alliance is to eradicate homelessness in Nordic countries and create a globally leading model for ending homelessness.

Nordic Homelessness Alliance

Nordic Homelessness Alliance

Nordic Homelessness Alliance brings together key actors in homelessness work from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Y-Säätiö’s Books

International co-operation

Juha Kahila

  • Head of International Affairs
  • tel. +358 20 7020 372