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New immigrants face difficulties finding housing

In Finland, of the more than 6,000 people without a home 1,878 are immigrants. The Nihtisilta reception centre in Espoo offers workshops on how to apply for housing, as some newcomers have never had to fill out an application for an apartment before.

Maahanmuuttajien työpaja.
This workshop in Espoo helps immigrants to find housing in Finland. Image: Yle

Finding a reasonably priced rental apartment in the capital region is difficult for anyone, especially new immigrants.

According to 2015 statistics, more than 6,000 people who live on their own had no home. Of that figure, 1,878 were immigrants.

At the Nihtisilta reception centre in Espoo, workshops teach participants how to find and apply for a rental apartment.

With their residence permits, new immigrants are free to move wherever they want in Finland. The common desire is to find a home near work, school and friends.

Sinan Adnan, who is originally from Iraq, says that before the workshop he was unsuccessful in finding a place to live. "I tried everything, but didn't find one. It is very difficult because I don't speak Finnish," says Adnan.

Practical advice

Satu Nieminen, a social worker at the centre, says just filling out housing forms for the first time can be a big challenge.

According to her colleague Nina Mefful, these workshops also provide a general overview of living in Finland in addition to practical help on how to fill out change of address forms, apply for home insurance and get electricity contracts. 

This workshop is also seen as part of a good support system.

Hatem Karem says he received a lot of practical help and also succeeded in finding an apartment.

According to social worker Nina Mefful, "Finding an apartment is a victory and a home is the cornerstone of integration. It's important to have your own place where you can start re-building your own life."

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