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Affordable Helsinki flats on offer for musicians – soundproofing included

Housing in Helsinki is expensive. Finding a place to rent can be tricky, especially if you're a musician who needs to work odd hours in the city centre – and perhaps practice late at night – but has a dicey income. One foundation appears to have found a partial solution.

Musiikkitalo Jallukka
The Jallukka building is set to open in early 2017. Image: Y-Säätiö

In Helsinki, construction will soon be complete on a block of flats partly earmarked for musicians. The first tenants are due to move in early next year

Kärtsy Hatakka soittaa kitaraa sohvalla
Kärtsy Hatakka tries out a sofa and guitar at Jallukka. Image: Ilkka Loikkanen / Yle
Kärtsy Hatakka, singer with the rock band Waltari, says he's excited as he looks around a apartment block under construction in Helsinki's Jätkäsaari neighbourhood, especially built for musicians like him. Jätkäsaari is a relatively new residential district in the city's western docklands area.

The Jallukka building, as it is known, is central, close to his workplace and kids, and most of all it will be filled with like-minded people and have two sound-proofed rehearsal spaces in its cellar.

About 200 musicians have already expressed interest in the building. They are vying for 25 flats here that will house music business professionals. That is about one third of the total in the building.

"No musicians need apply"

The project originated with the Live Music Foundation (ELMU), which seeks new ways to support music in society. The foundation's chair, former commercial radio pioneer Christian Moustgaard, says that municipal housing queues are long and rock musicians are not often at the top of the list – as landlords have clichéd images of them as noisy and irresponsible, with irregular hours, lifestyles and incomes.

He says the idea is to create a community of like-minded people – but not turn the building into party central. If the idea works, says Moustgaard, it won't be the first musicians' home to be built in Finland.

The other 50 or so flats will be rented out by the Y-Foundation, which aims to offer rental accommodation to people having difficulties in finding homes. The foundation was set up a consortium of cities including Helsinki as well as other local authorities, religious, mental health and trade organisations as well as the state alcohol monopoly Alko.

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