How the situation with homelessness differs in Scotland and Finland?
In Both Finland and Scotland, the major obstacles to eradicating homelessness are affordable housing which is the cornerstone of any decent housing policy and political will.
Finland’s homelessness prevention activities, including its housing advice services, especially those targeted to tenants in social housing, and its outreach to youth and offenders, is similar to services offered in Scotland. In Scotland, there is a longer and more developed track record of providing support and advice as an alternative to temporary accommodation, particularly through housing options hubs. It is evident that interventions to prevent evictions such as mediating with landlords and to provide support and advice to people threatened with homelessness is having a significant impact on reducing homelessness in both Scotland and Finland.
Finland has adopted the Housing First approach as its national policy in eradicating homelessness and has seen a decline in the number of people that are homeless, in Scotland, the Scottish government has just recently starting to look at Housing First as an approach to tackling homelessness. To get the most out of housing first regarding social and economic benefits it needs to be mainstream homelessness policy like in Finland and not just individual pilot projects. Housing first services need housing stock, and there is no real homeless policy without the housing supply to implement it. Currently Housing First in Glasgow relies on the goodwill and partnership working of various housing associations to provide houses which currently stands at 42 properties.