NEA – Securing Housing for Women

NEA – Securing Housing for Women

NEA, women specificity in homelessness work, is a three-year (2018–2020) national project co-ordinated by the Y-Foundation and funded by STEA. Work on the project is done through multidisciplinary collaboration between numerous actors. The project continues during Spring 2021.

The homelessness of women is a diverse phenomenon, and the story of each woman is different.

Objectives of the NEA project

The goal of the NEA project is that in the future women experiencing homelessness or its threat have the right to:

  • get into safety unconditionally,
  • become heard and seen without being labelled,
  • find a housing solution suitable for her needs,
  • get comprehensive support based on her needs and true self,
  • grow into a person who knows her own boundaries.

The relative share of women in homelessness has increased in recent years, even though homelessness as a whole has decreased in Finland. Over the past ten years, national homelessness programs have developed services, but they are mostly used by men.

The NEA project aims to find out the reasons for the rise in homelessness among women and to create solutions for women to access services.

The main objective of the project is to end the homelessness of women by securing housing paths. This goal is achieved through the development of a specific work approach and housing practices, strengthening expertise by experience and creating new, scattered housing solutions.

Furthermore, it is important to highlight the homelessness of women as a phenomenon. The project will also develop an impact assessment of work practices.

Nationwide work on sub-projects

The NEA project includes eight sub-projects, operating in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Turku and Tampere.

In Helsinki, the actors are The Helsinki Deaconess Institute, Blue Ribbon Foundation, The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters, The Helsinki Mother and Child Home Association and No Fixed Abode. In Espoo the EJY ry, in Turku Turku Mother and Child Home Association, in Tampere A-Clinic Foundation’s Völjy.

Moreover, the development work has been undertaken by the cities of Espoo, Helsinki, Vantaa, Tampere and Turku, as well as by the organisations MONIKA – Multicultural Women’s Association and Krits – Finnish Foundation for Supporting Ex-offenders.

In addition to the development work in the sub-projects, it is important to collaborate and develop in the NEA project: we strive to be more than the sum of our parts and to disseminate information about women specific work practices to other professionals as well.

International co-operation

NEA is part of the Erasmus+ Women in Homelessness Project, which develops best practices in European co-operation.

What does NEA do?

What kinds of life situations lead to the risk of homelessness and homelessness for women? How do women’s homelessness differ from men’s homelessness? What should be taken into account when working with women in difficult life situations? Does homelessness mean more to women than just lack of permanent residence?

The NEA project seeks to answer these questions.

In the project, women are met with individual work, groups, meeting places and housing communities. The goal is to make the voice of women heard and their housing needs visible.

The project aims to secure the housing of women in different life situations. The goal is to prevent homelessness and the recurrence of homelessness, to find hidden homeless people and to support access to housing for homeless women.

Women specific work also includes securing the housing of women living in difficult relationships and family situations. Sub-projects develop better work practices and housing solutions for women in different life situations.

Women’s homelessness in Finland

According to the annual ARA Housing Survey in 2019, 1 190 women living alone were homeless, representing 26 % of all homeless people living alone.

Concurrently over 159 homeless families and 105 couples were experiencing homelessness, all together around 680 people. Also the assumption is that part of the homelessness of women is hidden and does not appear in the statistics.

Work has been done in Finland under the Housing First model for the elimination and prevention of homelessness, programs to reduce long-term homelessness (PAAVO I and II 2008–2015) and the homelessness prevention programme AUNE since 2016.

These programmes have worked with different target groups, but the NEA project is the first to focus on the specific needs of women in homelessness work.

Further information

Project page on Facebook (in Finnish)

Join us in developing women specific homelessness work by contacting Project Manager Leena Lehtonen and Project Coordinator Pilvi Azeem at Y-Foundation (, or directly to parties implementing the sub-projects.


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