Finnish experiment: investing in the future or throwing money away?
In the late 1980s, in Finland, there were about 18,000 homeless, 1 thousand of which were families. Thanks to the state housing program, the number has fallen to almost zero, reports “Investor”.
In 2008, Finland began implementing a state housing program for homeless people. The national program Housing First say that any homeless may receive affordable housing from the state, most of which will be paid by the state.
All apartments have about the same area, about 35 square meters. They have a fully equipped kitchen. The bathroom is suitable for people with disabilities. There is also a bedroom and a balcony. In the summer, there is a fishing boat at the disposal of the inhabitants of the house.
Usually an apartment like that costs 480 euros. However, if the homeless gets unemployment benefits, then he will pay only about 100 euros. The rest will be covered by the state.
“Since 2008, more than 3,5 thousand apartments were provided for homeless people. The total cost of this national program is approximately 250 million euros. Housing is not a
convenience, it is a social right”,
– says Juha Kaakinen, the head of the Y-Foundation (housing construction company).
An important fact is that due to the provision of housing, the state not only invests money, but also saves about 15 thousand euros. Homeless people often seek medical help, which is
very expensive, with emergency help, they have issues with the police and so on. The housing protects from all those things. In addition, the housing contributes to the fact that people find a job over time.
The program does not exert significant pressure on the state budget, because Finland has found a simple solution. The country has a gambling monopoly. All lotteries, and in general, all gambling games are controlled by Veikkaus company, which belongs to the state. They distribute their income to culture, sports, as well as organizations that deal with social affairs and welfare issues.
Thus, the program of public housing carries out an important mission of bringing back into society people who lost their housing or opportunity to earn money. In addition, by
investing in housing, the state saves on the reduction of crimes with the participation of innocent people and motivates them to self-sufficiency.