Night of the Homeless on 17 October poses a question: has a homeless person been marginalised or displaced?
This year, the theme of the Night of the Homeless is ‘Ulkopuolella – syrjäytynyt vs. syrjäytetty’ (Outside – marginalised or displaced?). The theme highlights the structural reasons for homelessness in society. The Night of the Homeless Citizens’ Movement is demanding action to prevent people from being sidelined in the housing market and combat homelessness. According to statistics from ARA, a total of 523 people were homeless in Espoo last year.
Often, the reason for homelessness is social marginalisation. When there is a shortage of affordable housing, and society does not implement housing as a human right on a practical level, those with the lowest income are left behind. The longer someone is homeless, the harder it is to find housing.
“Spring 2020 saw fears that COVID-19 would generate serious issues, but we have made it through relatively unscathed thus far. We are currently very worried about homeless young people and homeless people with immigrant backgrounds because the proportion they make up of the homeless population has increased in recent years”, says Head of Espoo Adult Social Work, Tapio Nieminen.
Espoo is conducting multidisciplinary cooperation to reduce and prevent homelessness.
Homelessness statistics for Espoo
In November 2020, Espoo had a total of 523 homeless residents, of whom 429 lived alone, according to statistics from ARA. This number has decreased slightly since 2019. Out of those living alone, 145 were suffering from long-term homelessness (homeless for more than a year or several times in the past three years). There were 98 homeless women, 93 homeless young people and 158 homeless people with an immigrant background. There were 27 households of homeless couples and families in Espoo. The total number of homeless people is declining in Espoo.
The government’s objective is to cut homelessness by half by 2023. The Ministry of the Environment started a three-year homelessness programme in cooperation with the largest urban regions, service providers and associations. Espoo has drafted a plan to halve homelessness in the years 2020–2022.
Night of the Homeless in Espoo
In Espoo, the Night of the Homeless includes both urban events and an online programme at espoonasunnottomienyö.fi(extrernal link), which has be opened on Monday 11 October.
Chat for support with housing and financial issues
At espoonasunnottomienyö.fi, you can contact City of Espoo experts via chat from 1 pm to 3 pm from 11 to 15 October. You can discuss housing-related issues on Monday, Thursday and Friday; Tuesday and Wednesday are designated for financial issues. You can also find blog posts and photographic exhibition as well as information on low-threshold services on the website. The website will remain online until 22 October.
Night of the Homeless 2021 events in Espoo
This year, Espoo is hosting an exceptional number of events both on Sunday 17 October and the week leading up to it.
Night of the Homeless pre-launch event: Linkki health advice and support centre will hold events at Espoon keskus from Monday to Friday 11–15 October. Clothes will be distributed on Monday 11 October. You can meet with a service coordinator from Sininauhasäätiö on Tuesday 12 October. Tukikohta ry will be presenting the ‘Etsivä löytää’ (those who seek will find) project on Wednesday 13 October. Food will be served on Thursday 14 October. Coffee and sweet buns will be served on Friday 15 October.
Night of the Homeless pre-launch event on 15 October
Leppävaara: In front of Sello Library from 4 to 8 pm (inside the library if it rains). Workers from the ‘Yhteispelillä!’ (working together) project will be presenting the Tiltti support point to gamblers and their loved ones. Reflectors and woollen socks will be distributed. Visitors can also receive guidance in looking for housing, visit a Kela information point and enjoy sausages and juice as well as live music.
Tuomarila: Food will be served at 12 noon. Manna-Apu, Tuomarilantie 19.
Events in Espoo on Sunday 17 October
Food distribution, speeches, music, mobile library, spending time together, a fire show and distribution of warm clothes in the courtyard of the Soukka chapel on Soukankuja in Espoonlahti at 6 pm. Housing counsellors from the City of Espoo will be available for chats. Mass at 5 pm.
Speeches, singalongs, sausages, pancakes made by scouts, juice and sweet buns, mobile library and distribution of warm clothes in the square next to Iso Omena in Matinkylä starting from 5 pm. The fires for the Night of the Homeless will be lit at 7 pm, evening prayers at 7.50 pm. Housing advisors from Espoon asunnot will also be available at the event.
Sausages and soup, musical performances and the mobile library in the courtyard of Espoon keskus on Pappilantie starting from 5 pm. The fires for the Night of the Homeless will be lit at 7 pm.
The programme is subject to changes and may be affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
Operators from associations, churches and City of Espoo units as well as students from Laurea University of Applied Sciences and Omnia will also participate in the Night of the Homeless.
The Night of the Homeless has been held since 2002 on the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October. The Night of the Homeless Citizens’ Movement supports everyone’s basic right to a permanent residence, a home. The Night of the Homeless is one of the largest annual events in the social and welfare sector. It is a politically and religiously independent event.