What is the social and cultural context of housing policy in relation to homelessness?
The Finnish political system is built on the idea that everyone deserves a chance at the necessities of life. Empathy and caring for others is a human right and that it is expected within society that no one will be left to survive on their own.
They have increased investments on preventing homelessness and despite the difficult economic situation and the large number of refugees who have received a residence permit. Reforming the service system so that it is more preventive and customer-centered
According to studies, housing one long-term homeless person saves approximately €15,000 of public funds per year. The work on housing guidance by the City of Helsinki saved approximately €1.5 million in the costs of the city’s rental housing companies in 2015 while ensuring the continued housing of hundreds of tenants by preventing arrears of rent from becoming court cases.
It has been shown through research that Housing First improves housing stability for people with poor mental health and increases the engagement of individuals with addiction issues with services. This not only improves the health and wellbeing but will also tackle social issues such as crime and reducing unemployment.
In Scotland welfare reform and austerity measures have been implicated in the issues affecting housing and homelessness, although housing is devolved to the Scottish parliament there is an argument that due to lack of control over money then there will always be a struggle to adequately fund programs that meet the needs of homeless individuals.