What are the key aspects of the historical development of housing policy in relation to homelessness?
Long-term work on homelessness has been done in Finland for decades. The state became involved in combating homelessness in the 1950s. In 1949, the Housing Production Commission Arava was established to provide low-interest loans for housing production. The elimination of homelessness was mentioned for the first time in the government program in 1987. Since then almost all governments have stated the reduction or elimination of homelessness as their goal.
One of the most important ways Finland used to reduce homelessness has been to produce affordable housing. New financial instruments were developed in the 1980s to provide affordable housing. In 1985 the Finnish government started to finance buying shares in housing companies from the free market.
Until 2008 Finland mostly had a staircase model in use for the work on homelessness, where the homeless person moved from one social rehabili¬tation step to another, with an apartment waiting on the highest step, now there is a strong political will from all governments that have made the application of the Housing First approach possible and the closing down of homeless shelters began, the number of support staff grew, affordable housing was built. Long-term homelessness fell by 35 %, between 2008 and 2015 and in some cities, long-term homelessness has reduced by 50%