Tampere’s homelessness prevention policies introduced to local decision-makers from Europe
The SEDEC commission of the European Committee of the Regions will meet in Tampere on 20–21 April 2023. Over 70 municipal and regional decision-makers from the Member States of the European Union will arrive in Tampere for a meeting and conference on homelessness prevention organised by the European Committee of the Regions.
The Committee of the Regions is the official EU institution representing municipalities and regions, which also issues opinions on EU legislation. The Committee has six Commissions that prepare draft opinions on subjects falling within their area of expertise. To enable debate and inclusion, it is customary to organise conferences in connection with Commission meetings in different European cities. City of Tampere has representation in two commissions: ECON, focusing on issues related to economic policy, and SEDEC, the commission for social policies, education, employment, research and culture.
The City of Tampere will host the 2023 meeting of the SEDEC Commission of the Committee of the Regions on 20–21 April 2023. The thematic focus of the related conference will be homelessness reduction, for which Finland and Tampere in particular have good practices implemented. Finland is one of the leading EU countries in homelessness prevention, and our experiences gained from the Housing First model have attracted particular interest in Europe.
– According to the latest data, the number of long-term homeless people has decreased significantly in Tampere, and affordable housing has been systematically promoted. But every one homeless person is too many. Strong and systematic cooperation with different actors is needed to reduce homelessness, and international exchange of information is also important, says Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, Mayor of Tampere.
Mikko Aaltonen, Vice-Chair of the Tampere City Council, represents the European Committee of the Regions in the Steering Group of the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness. He has also prepared the Committee’s opinion in which EU regions and municipalities call for greater support from the European Commission for the different levels of government to eradicate homelessness in Europe by 2030.
– Actions taken at the local level are particularly important in achieving the EU's goal of eradicating homelessness. In Finland, the number of homeless people has reduced by half since 2010. This has been achieved through social housing production, homelessness prevention programmes, and the implementation of the Housing First model. The development has been unique at a European level. Other regions now want to mimic the best practices adopted in Finland and Tampere, says Mr Aaltonen.
In Tampere, European mayors, municipal and regional councils, and other local government representatives will take a tour of Y-Säätiö’s Housing First housing unit in Hervanta, Tastu's temporary housing unit, the Kaukajärvi shelter, and the Finnish Red Cross's youth shelter.
The meeting of the SEDEC Commission will be held at the Paja Congress Centre On Thursday, 20 April. The meeting will feature presentations on the role of Growth Corridor Finland as the cooperation network for regional development and on the Family Federation of Finland’s Womento mentoring programme for highly educated migrant women. The SEDEC Commission is chaired by Tanya Hristova, Mayor of Gabrovo, Bulgaria. The actual conference on Friday 21 April will be attended, among others, by Freek Spinnewijn, Director of the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA).