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Could Australia Follow Finland’s Lead In Ending Homelessness?

Australia, like many countries worldwide, grapples with the enduring challenge of homelessness.

Data shows that approximately 120,000 individuals experience homelessness on any given night.

However, this is not the case in Finland.

Click and listen the full episode below:

In their capital, Helsinki, the government aims to end homelessness, or get it down to where becoming homeless is likely to be very temporary for most people by 2025. 

On today’s episode of The Briefing, host Bension Siebert delved into Finland’s innovative approach to end homelessness with Juha Kahila, the Head of International Affairs at the Y-Foundation, offering insights that could potentially benefit Australia and other nations facing similar struggles.

Finland has witnessed a decline in homelessness for over 15 years.

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At least 120-thousand people are experiencing homelessness in any given night in Australia. And this isn’t a problem that only we are facing, with many countries around the globe struggling to tackle the homelessness issue.  However, this isn’t the case in Finland.   In their capital, Helsinki, the government aims to end homelessness – or get it down to where becoming homeless is likely to be very temporary for most people – by 2025.  So how are they doing this? And could Australia learn from what they’re doing right?  On this episode, Bension Siebert speaks with Juha Kahila, Head of International Affairs at the Y-Foundation, as he joins us from Finland. #homelessness #finland #podcast #housing

♬ original sound – LiSTNR Newsroom

Mr Kahila attributed this success to a comprehensive approach that prioritises affordable housing, supportive services, and a strong social safety net. 

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“Homelessness…if we want it or not, it will always be there. But we have to make it as rare and brief as possible for people experiencing it,” he said.

Rather than viewing homelessness solely as a housing issue, Finland recognises its 

Mr Kahila said the government’s initiative to eliminate long-term homelessness by 2025 is not merely an aspiration but a tangible goal supported by strategies. 

“If you are homeless, it’s not an individual’s fault, but a problem in the society that allows people to become homeless in the first place,” he said.

When asked about the lessons for Australia, Kahila emphasised the importance of political will, collaboration across sectors, and a proactive approach that combines housing solutions with social support services. 

He urged governments to prioritise affordable housing and invest in preventative measures to address homelessness at its root causes.

“I think there has to be good progress, and you know, it’s hard work, and somebody has to do it.”

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