If you do not have permanent housing, and you are not officially a tenant or a subtenant, you are considered homeless. In Finland, municipalities offer services for the homeless. These services are intended for those who have a municipality of residence in Finland.
If you become homeless, contact the social services office or social clinic of your municipality of residence. They will help you when you are looking for a flat or temporary housing. Temporary housing could be in a dorm, a night shelter or a flat intended for the homeless. Go over your situation with a social worker: how much rent you are able to pay, and whether you are eligible for any financial aid for your rent. You can also ask for advice from the guidance service for immigrants provided by your municipality of residence.
You can find information on finding rental accommodation on the InfoFinland page Rental dwelling. The housing situation varies greatly depending on the location. For example, there are vacant flats in many of the smaller municipalities around Finland. It may be difficult to find a flat in the metropolitan area.
You can also ask for advice and assistance from the association called Vailla vakinaista asuntoa. It is an association that offers advice, support and guidance in housing-related matters and aims to improve the status of the homeless in society.
Ohjaamo guidance centres offer advice and guidance for young homeless people.
If you do not live in Finland permanently
THE NGO No Fixed Abode runs a night café called Kalkkers that offers a warm place for the homeless to spend the night from autumn to spring. Kalkkers is open from 10 pm to 6 am. There are no places for sleeping at the centre, and it is not an alcohol and drug-free facility. They will not ask you whether you have a residence permit or not. The centre is located in Helsinki at Ratamestarinkatu 6, Itä-Pasila, and the telephone number is 050 443 1068. E-mail: kalkkers(at)vvary.fi. Immigration experts working at the same address:
- Mon–Thu: Finnish, English, Bulgarian. Tel. 044 260 3818
- Fri: Finnish and Russian. Tel. 050 407 9703
InfoFinland page In Finland without a residence permit contains more information for those without official documents.
If your home is damaged
If you have home insurance and your home is damaged as a result of a fire or water damage, for example, contact your insurance company immediately. Home insurance may cover the rent for a temporary flat.
If you are unable to pay your rent
If you have financial problems, you should always pay your rent first and then other payments and debts. If you are unable to pay the rent, contact the lessor and try to agree on an extended payment schedule. Read more on the InfoFinland page Financial problems.
Information on the housing allowance granted by Kela is available on the InfoFinland page Housing allowance.