About the Y-Foundation’s activities
What does the Y-Foundation do?
We rent apartments at an affordable price to people who encounter difficulties in trying to find a home for themselves. We rent the majority of our accommodation to our partners in cooperation – organisations and municipalities – who then sublet it out to those who are most in need of housing. The Y-Foundation rents out some of the apartments itself directly. In addition, Y-Housing, owned by the Y-Foundation, also rents out apartments directly to those who are looking for a home.
The Y-Foundation also aims to encourage public discussion on factors which influence homelessness and presents decision makers with models for a solution to homelessness.
How does the Y-Foundation acquire the accommodation it leases?
The Y-Foundation acquires its accommodation by purchasing individual apartments from housing companies on the free market and by developing apartment blocks for rent all over Finland. The capital region and other major cities and other areas of growth are particular areas of focus when it comes to procuring accommodation.
What is Y-Housing?
Owned by the Y-Foundation, Y-Housing is a company which offers regular, affordable rental accommodation which we lease out directly to those looking for a home. The accommodation is funded entirely by the profit made from leasing the apartments.
How long has the Y-Foundation existed and who established it?
The foundation was established in 1985 by the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Turku and Tampere, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (then known as Suomen Kaupunkiliitto), the Church Council, The Finnish Red Cross, the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries, The Finnish Construction Trade Union, Alko and The Finnish Association for Mental Health.
Why do we need the Y-Foundation?
There is an overwhelming lack of affordable accommodation, especially in large cities, and so many people encounter problems when trying to find a home. Homelessness, or the threat of homelessness, can affect anyone – a move to a different municipality, unemployment, substance abuse issues or changes in the family dynamic can all result in a sudden change of living conditions.
Every person deserves a place to live and the security provided by their own home. For many people, it’s also a gateway to a better life. It is very difficult to make progress in life while homeless. The Y-Foundation is needed to help reduce homelessness in Finland.
Applying for an apartment
How can I get an apartment from the Y-Foundation?
The majority of our apartments are sublet to municipalities or to other social or healthcare providers, who then manage the resident selection process.
Who is entitled to accommodation provided by the Y-Foundation?
Individual people or families who meet the Arava (State-subsidised Housing) and high-support accommodation selection criteria are selected as residents. Grounds for criteria include the applicant household’s need for accommodation as well as its wealth and income.
Accommodation is offered primarily to those with a homeless background and those who have lost their credit rating, or have otherwise become displaced from the accommodation markets. Some accommodation is meant for certain special groups, and only members of those special groups are entitled to such accommodation.
How long is the application process?
The application process can progress very quickly if a suitable apartment becomes free at the right time. Unfortunately we are unable to promise accommodation to every applicant as there is often far more demand for apartments than there is supply.
Where does the Y-Foundation own accommodation?
The Y-Foundation operates in over 50 municipalities. See more using the map.
Homelessness in Finland
How has homelessness changed in Finland over the last 10 years?
Problems in the structure of society have become an increasingly important factor in homelessness. In most large cities, not enough affordable rental accommodation is built, which means that regular people encounter difficulty in finding affordable housing. Homelessness amongst young people in particular has increased in large towns and cities.
What is the Y-Foundation doing to combat and reduce homelessness in Finland?
We not only want to provide accommodation, but also to be socially active by highlighting factors which affect homelessness in public discussions. We also actively strive to influence decision-makers so that municipalities can better understand what they can do to prevent homelessness.
What is the homelessness situation like in Finland compared to the rest of Europe?
Homelessness always peaks in connection with social or economic crises. The European economic crisis, for example, has manifested as a clear increase in homelessness in several countries. Estimates place the number of homeless people in Europe at 4 million. In Greece, the number of homeless people is estimated to have risen by a quarter in 2009–2011. In Finland, an investigation by ARA found that there were 8,750 homeless individuals and 450 homeless families in Finland at the end of 2012. On a European scale, homelessness in Finland is not a major problem, but this neither reduces the severity of the problem nor removes the need to find a solution.