A Home for the Holidays
Finland’s Home First Program is about dignity, and it’s been working.
In cities and states across the U.S., debates continue regarding whether to prosecute homeless people who “sleep rough” on the streets and in parks. In countries across Europe, communities continue to fail to reverse their growing homeless issues. Homeless is truly a global problem.
Finland, however, has tried and tested a program that has worked for more than ten years.
The Home First Program provides homes to individuals—not a bed in shelters or temporary living accommodations, but actual apartments to house the homeless. The apartments are in converted buildings and sprinkled throughout communities.
Finland’s homeless sign affordable rent contracts and they receive welfare benefits if needed. There are no strings attached. Giving up drugs or alcohol is not required. Addiction-cessation programs, mental health support, employment coaching, nurses available 24/7, and other services are available. Taking advantage of these services is encouraged, but not required.
The return on the investment to Finland’s cities includes a savings of $17,000 per year, per person, due to reduced emergency room visits, police interventions, and interactions with the criminal justice system.
From 2008 to 2015, the long-term homeless population dropped 35 percent. Denmark, Canada, Australia, New York, and Connecticut are now emulating the program.
Hear from those nolonger homeless. Source: Huffington Post
Radical Solution to Homelessness 6.0.19: Source: The Guardian