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Helsinki youth offered cheap flats in old people’s home

Young people in Helsinki can get a very cheap flat in the Laajasalo district—so long as they’re willing to spend time with the elderly. The studios in the old people’s home are available for just 250 euros a month—but tenants must be aged under 25 and spend at least 3 hours a week with other residents.

Tennarit ja tohvelit.
Old people could get new neighbours if one project in Laajasalo, Helsinki, takes off. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Helsinki is to offer cheap housing to young people—with a catch. Under-25s will be able to rend a 23sqm apartment in an old people’s home, so long as they commit to spending several hours a week with the other, elderly residents.

The cheap flats are self-contained units with a kitchen, bathroom and balcony, and the rent is just 250 euros per month—cheap by the standards of the Finnish capital. They’re located in the Laajasalo district, east of the city centre and close to the sea.

The offer is part of the “Home that fits” project, which aims to eliminate youth homelessness in the Finnish capital by 2018. Currently around 1,000 people in the capital are classified as homeless.

Miki Mielonen, who is responsible for the project at Helsinki Youth department, said that the flats could also be taken up by people with less-than-fluent Finnish skills looking for conversation practice.

"We don't have any preconceptions, this is open to everyone," Mielonen told Yle News.

Applications should be submitted by 8 December, and the new tenants will move to their new flats in January. More details can be found here and applications in English will be accepted.

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