Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada impressed by Finnish homelessness work

  • 8.3.2024
  • News

The Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, Greg Fergus, and his delegation visited Y-Säätiö on Friday 8 March. The guests were interested in Finland’s successes in reducing homelessness and the work of Y-Säätiö in ending homelessness. Mr Fergus was accompanied by John McKay,  Chair of the Standing Committee on National Defence of the Canadian House of Commons, Stéphane Bergeron, Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, and Jenny Kwan, a member of the Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

Homelessness and the high cost of housing have become the focus of social and political debate in Canada.

Canada faces major challenges in housing and homelessness. Finland has developed innovative and effective housing and homelessness solutions. It has been valuable to hear what has been done right here and where we can learn from,” said speaker Fergus, commenting on the visit to Y-Säätiö

Visitors were impressed by the holistic approach to homelessness work and the commitment to a common goal.

In Finland, different actors work together and homelessness reduction has been a long-standing continuum. One of the big differences with Canada is the role of public support, which does not exist to the same extent in Canada.

In Canada, an estimated 7 billion is spent annually on homeless services such as shelters and various emergency services, even though adopting the Housing First model has been found to be a cost-saving investment,” said Jenny Kwan about the differences between Finland and Canada.

Speaker Greg Fergus and his delegation with Y-Säätiö

The visit is a continuation of a long-standing cooperation

Y-Säätiö has been actively working with Canadian actors ranging from researchers, third sector experts to policy makers for many years.

In 2023, the Y-Foundation was visited by Quebec Mayor Bruno Marchand and Tim Aubry and Eric Latimer, who have studied the effectiveness of the Housing First model. Teija Ojankoski, CEO of the Y-Foundation, and Juha Kahila, Head of International Affairs, visited Canada at the beginning of the year and discussed with Sean Fraser, Canadian Minister of Housing, and Jocelyn Formsma, National Association of Native Friendship Centres, at an event organised by the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa, how Finnish lessons could be used in Canada to reduce homelessness.