Solutions for the treatment and prevention of housing disorders

  • 18.12.2023
  • News

According to the ‘Housing First’ principle, owning your own home is a fundamental right. In Finland, this principle is typically implemented by providing rented accommodation for people experiencing homelessness, together with support that meets the needs of the tenant, and the results have been excellent. Supported housing, like all housing, can sometimes be disruptive and problematic. To address and prevent such situations, Y-Säätiö, together with its partners, looked for good practices.

Last year, Y-Säätiö organized a series of Good Housing workshops with the City of Helsinki, service providers and organizations. The aim was to focus on the prevention and management of problems in subsidised housing in housing associations. As a result of this work, practices were identified to ensure good housing for our tenants and their neighbors.

The guiding idea behind the series of workshops was a shared understanding of the need to ensure good housing for the tenant. Supported housing involves many actors, from landlords and property managers to service providers and public authorities. Taking the tenant’s perspective as the starting point for cooperation between the different actors keeps an eye on the ball, even in challenging situations. The primary objective is to ensure continuity of housing and prevent homelessness.

“At Y-Säätiö, we wanted to bring together key players to consider how to deal with disruptive situations in supported housing. The idea was that together we could clarify the work processes related to incidents,” says Juha Niskanen, Director of Real Estate at Y-Säätiö, explaining the background to the workshop series.

Juha Niskanen

”Kaikki lähtivätkin mukaan työskentelyyn. Kokemukset ja haasteet olivat kaikille yhteisiä. Työpajasarjassa syvennyttiin tilanteisiin monipuolisesti ja yhteiset havainnot saatiin koottua mainiosti”

Common approaches help in challenging situations

The key findings of the Good Housing workshop series have been compiled into a concise guide and a room table, which can be downloaded here. The workshops identified steps to help navigate challenging supported housing disruption situations.

Five themes were identified in the workshops for problem-solving. Recognising the urgency or non-urgency of a situation can make the difference between securing housing and keeping the peace between neighbours. Knowing the roles of supportive housing and identifying those involved is essential. It is also important to be aware of the regulations relating to the disclosure of personal data and to identify communication pressures. If there are compensable damages involved, the person paying for the damage must be identified and efforts made to prevent further damage. As a result of a housing disruption, it may be necessary to assess the conditions for continued occupancy. In these situations, it is often crucial whether the resident is involved in resolving their situation, whether the resident will accept support if needed and whether adequate support and care is available.

“While each housing disorder is unique, processes and models help to address situations. Outlining the steps in advance also gives workers a sense of security and support. These situations often come with different pressures and it is a great help if you know where to start and what to do next,” says Niskanen.

Y-Säätiö thanks all participants in the Good Housing workshops for their contribution to the development work. Ensuring good housing for all tenants and preventing homelessness requires extensive cooperation between different actors. The series of workshops is coordinated by the Housing First Network Developers.