Where home­less­ness is all but Fin­nish-ed

Pol­i­cy­mak­ers look to learn from the Nordic na­tion’s af­ford­able hous­ing strat­egy

StarMetro Vancouver - - CANADA & WORLD - Te­viah Moro

Plan­ning pol­icy in ma­jor ur­ban cen­tres in Fin­land stip­u­lates at least 20 per cent of new de­vel­op­ments must be af­ford­able. You will be hard-pressed to find a per­son hud­dling un­der a piece of card­board in Helsinki.

Take it from the CEO of Fin­land’s largest non-gov­ern­men­tal af­ford­able-hous­ing provider.

“You don’t see peo­ple sleep­ing on the streets,” Juha Kaaki­nen said af­ter a pre­sen­ta­tion at the Na­tional Con­fer­ence on End­ing Home­less­ness in Hamil­ton on Mon­day.

Fin­land started to tackle home­less­ness in earnest dur­ing the 2008 re­ces­sion.

“In spite of that, we could fi­nance the pro­gram and get Fin­land has “al­most erad­i­cated home­less­ness,” Juha Kaaki­nen says.

home­less­ness de­creas­ing,” Kaaki­nen said. “So I think that it only shows that it’s not a money is­sue.”

Fin­land’s strat­egy in­volved the con­ver­sion of emer­gency shel­ters and hos­tels to a va­ri­ety of so­cial- and as­sisted-liv­ing flats through strong gov­ern­ment in­cen­tives, Kaaki­nen noted.

Read more at thes­tar.com/gta

HELSINKI CITY TOURIST AND CON­VEN­TION BU­REAU

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