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Homelessness growing in Helsinki suburbs; immigrants hit hard

A housing market survey by the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA) has found an increase in the numbers of homeless in the Helsinki suburbs of Espoo and Vantaa over the past year. The phenomenon has hit immigrant families particularly hard.

Nainen nukkuu sohvalla Mustassa Lampaassa.
At the end of 2013 there were 7,500 singles and 420 families without homes in Finland. Image: Petri Aaltonen / Yle

The ARA survey found that the trend toward rising homelessness has taken a turn for the better in Helsinki. However the problem remains more stubborn in the outlying areas of the capital region. In districts such as Espoo and Vantaa, the number of destitute persons increased last year.

In the capital, however homeless numbers remained constant compared to the previous year. However Helsinki still has the highest number of itinerants per capita, with long term homelessness particularly concentrated in this area.

In November 2013 almost 1,800 long term destitute could be found on the streets of the capital, representing nearly 70 percent of the entire population of long term homeless in the country.

The ARA report found that homelessness is hitting Finland’s immigrant community increasingly hard, with the number of destitute non-Finns rising above 1,100 for the first time in 2011. Last year, the group numbered 2,000, with families accounting for the majority of that number.

The survey found that by the end of 2013 there were 7,500 singles and 420 families without homes in Finland.

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