National Homelessness Conference keynote speaker, Juha Kaakinen, CEO of Y-Foundation in Finland, will reflect on the similarities between the current situation in Australian and that faced by Finland when it set out to systematically tackle homelessness.
As the only European country that has successfully reduced, and almost eradicated homelessness, Finland is often looked to as a guiding example.
Since 2008, a succession of not-particularly socially minded Finnish governments have set clear targets to reduce chronic homelessness, and made a consistent commitment to preserve funding for the Housing First model in the face of austerity measures taken after the 2008 economic crisis. Juha and Y-Foundation have been key drivers of the political and social strategies Finland has adopted.
Juha will reveal how policy makers were able to move from theory to practice in making Housing First the default approach to addressing chronic homelessness. He will also describe the range of financial instruments Finland has employed to promote the creation of affordable housing. This investment in housing is the key to Finland’s success in replacing shelters and hostels with permanent housing.
The success of Finland’s (and Juha’s) commitment can be seen in the setting of new targets to halve the existing hidden homelessness population, that is people in precarious situations such as living temporarily with friends or relatives.
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