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Home NATIONALHelsinki shelters face severe space crisis
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Tue, 28 Jun, 2016 12:02:03 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Jun 28
 
A social worker at the get of a shelter center in Helsinki. Photo Lehtikuva.
Shelter homes in the Helsinki metropolitan area are facing a serious accommodation crisis.
 
Half of the clients seeking accommodation at the shelter homes had to be steered to another shelter or other crisis services.
 
When the phone rings in Helsinki’s shelter home, the employee taking the call is often faced with a difficult task: telling the caller that there is no more space in the shelter.
 
“On the other end, people are always disappointed and worried. The threshold to enter the shelter is high. The fact that there is no space feels catastrophic to a person facing violence,” said Pääkaupungin Turvakoti ry Executive Director Karola Grönlund.
 
Last year, approximately every fourth person seeking shelter in Finland was not given a place. 
 
In greater Helsinki, the situation is far worse than in other parts of the country. At least half of the people seeking shelter were left without shelter.
 
The situation is going from bad to worse. From January to May this year 55 per cent of those applying for accommodation in the capital’s shelter have been steered to another shelter or other emergency services. 
 
More than 100 hundred of the applicants were adults and there were about 80 children. The shelter’s accommodation capacity is only about 160 persons.
 
File Photo Lehtikuva.
Statistics do not show whether the persons turned away accepted the alternative service offered.
 
According to Grönlund, the nearest cities with free places in shelters are usually Tampere or Turku, but have been sometimes as far away as Rovaniemi.
 
“People do not usually leave for another city, unless the situation is exceptionally serious. Some customers will return to the same violent circumstances from which they came,” Grönlund added.
 
The shelter services are quickly filling up in Tampere and Vantaa as well.
 
 
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