In Finland, a successful reintegration policy for homeless people

In Finland, a successful reintegration policy for homeless people

In Finland, there is no need for anti-homelessness devices because there are hardly any more. Explanations.

In Finland, there is no need for anti-homelessness devices because there are hardly any more.  Explanations.

Twice less homeless than in France

In Finland, the number of homeless people has fallen by a third over the past ten years. In 2017, there were only 7,100 homeless people left in the country. As an indication, it is two times less than in France, in proportion to the population.

“For a very long time, we dealt with this problem in the traditional way, then we realized that these people could not get out of their situation”, explains Sanna Veskiansa, deputy mayor of Helsinki. To reduce the number of homeless, Finland has chosen to implement a pragmatic policy: rehousing them. More precisely, it is about the program “Housing First” or in French, “housing first ”.

The principle ? First and foremost, give housing to the homeless without asking for anything in return. “It is very important for safety, for self-realization, to know that you are here at home, no matter what ”, testifies a former homeless man.

“The key, the front door, at the start, is the accommodation”

Set up in 2009 in Finland, this program was first developed in the United States. Today, this social program is being tested in several countries: the United States, Canada and Belgium. And the conclusion is the same every time: it works. “The key, the front door, at the start, is the accommodation ”, explains Hélène Marquet, specialist educator.

In France too, some apply this principle, in particular the association “Roof to me ” who in addition to buying houses for the homeless, supports them to reintegrate.