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Housing assistance reaches record high

Close to a quarter-million households and half a million people received housing subsidies last year, an all-time record number.

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Image: Yle

According to Finland's Social Insurance Institution (Kela), the number of households receiving General Housing Allowances reached a record high late last year. The number receiving these subsidies for low-income households rose by a fifth from a year earlier.

As of the end of 2015, allowances were handed out to 246,400 households including 461,000 people – or 11 percent of the population under the age of 65.

Kela attributes the rise to a climb in long-term unemployment, as well as a new law that took effect last year which raised the maximum income level for households eligible for assistance, especially families with children.

More than half of households receiving general housing allowances housing assistance consisted of single individuals, though. Unemployed households accounted for 62 percent of aid recipients. Families with kids made up just over one third – the vast majority of them single-parent families. A quarter of recipient households had some wage income.

The average allowance was 330 euros a month, while these household's average housing expenditures were just under 600 euros.

The General Housing Allowance can be granted for either rental or owner-occupied homes.

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