Pioneering research generates knowledge to support the eradication of homelessness

  • 20.3.2024
  • News

Y-Säätiö and the University of Turku launched RADAR, a research project that uses register data to investigate the use of services by people experiencing homelessness and the pathways to and from homelessness. The study will also examine the cost implications of the Housing First model, i.e. how providing one’s own home and the necessary support without preconditions affects the costs of homelessness for the society.

Although Finland is one of the frontrunners in reducing homelessness, more information is needed about the situations of people experiencing homelessness and the services available to them. The RADAR research project makes unique use of register data and provides new insights into homelessness.

 “We need to better understand the vulnerability of people experiencing homelessness in order to eradicate homelessness in Finland. Homelessness is a complex phenomenon and the risk of homelessness depends on many factors. Individual vulnerabilities, such as addictions or mental health problems, interact with structural factors such as the availability of affordable housing and access to social and health services. These issues will be highlighted in the study, which will look at what services and benefits people who have experienced homelessness have used and what their housing history is,” the researchers say.

The research will improve our understanding about how homeless people use services and benefits over time and will analyze the risk factors behind homelessness. The results will be fed into homelessness work already during the project. The researchers will present the results to experts in the homelessness field at a round table with the Housing First Network developers. Recommendations will be made to ARA housing providers.

The research project will also provide evidence on the cost-effectiveness of the Housing First model. What is the impact of providing homeless people with their own accommodation and the necessary support on other public costs of homelessness, for example through health and emergency services or emergency services? A better understanding can help policy makers to allocate resources more effectively and demonstrate that ending homelessness is not only a human duty but also an easily justifiable economic imperative.

Pioneer project on the use of registers

The RADAR project combines data from different registers in a way that has not been done before in the Finnish homelessness survey. This provides a broader and more detailed picture of homelessness and its determinants.

The project includes two research components. The first will examine the cost-effectiveness of the Housing First model in Helsinki and Espoo between 2016 and 2021, while the second aims to retrospectively describe housing, service and benefit pathways in Turku. In the second section, the target group of people experiencing homelessness is compared to a control group of adult social work clients without a homeless background.