More homeless people in Helsinki suburbs

Cold sees homeless shelters struggling to copeThere has been a rise in the number of homeless people in Helsinki’s suburbs of Vantaa and Espoo, according to the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA).

Despite the ARA’s research finding that the number of homeless people remains fairly constant, the problem is worsening in some of the capital’s suburbs, with immigrants being hit particularly hard. In suburbs such as Vantaa and Espoo, there was in increase in the number of homeless people in 2013.

There was little change in the number of homeless people in Helsinki, but the city still has more itinerants per capita than any other district. Furthermore, long-term homelessness is also a greater issue in the centre.

Some 1,800 people classed as being homeless for a long time were living on Helsinki’s streets in November last year, a figure that equates to around 70 per cent to the overall homeless population in Finland.

The ARA research discovered that immigrants in Finland are among the hardest hit, with the number of homeless non-Finns now above 2,000; the majority of that number was made up by families. There were just 1,100 homeless immigrants in 2011.

The survey found that as of the end of last year there were 420 families and 7,500 singles homeless in Finland.