NEA – Securing Housing for Women

Human Resources, Local social sustainability, Target groups of housing
“The homelessness of women is a diverse phenomenon, and the story of each woman is different.”


It’s a three-year (2018–2020) national project co-ordinated by the Y-Foundation and funded by STEA (Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations), a platform for co-development of the Homelessness Prevention Action Program (AUNA). Work on the project is done through multidisciplinary collaboration between numerous actors.The aim of this project is to secure housing of women by creating new housing pathways and developing new types of women-specific working methods in individual work, group activities, experience by expertise and low-threshold meeting places.The project develops practices to combat homelessness through extensive collaboration of networks.The aim of the AUNE action programme is to integrate homelessness work more widely into anti-exclusion work. Housing First principle is also in the centre of this programme.



The relative share of women in homelessness has increased in recent years, even though homelessness as a whole has decreased in Finland. Over the past ten years, national homelessness programs have developed services, but they are mostly used by men. The NEA project aims to find out the reasons for the rise in homelessness among women and to create solutions for women to access services.The main objective of the project is to end the homelessness of women by securing housing paths. According to the annual ARA Housing Survey in 2018, 1 244 women living alone were homeless, representing 25,5% of all homeless people living alone. Concurrently over 159 homeless families and couples were experiencing homelessness, all together 600 people. Also the assumption is that part of the homelessness of women is hidden and does not appear in the statistics. The NEA project includes eight nationwide sub-projects, operating in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Turku and Tampere and is part of the Erasmus+ Women in Homelessness Project, which develops best practices in European co-operation. Work has been done in Finland under the Housing First model for the elimination and prevention of homelessness, programs to reduce long-term homelessness (PAAVO I and II 2008–2015) and the homelessness prevention programme AUNE since 2016. These programmes have worked with different target groups, but the NEA project is the first to focus on the specific needs of women in homelessness work.

Issues tackled

What kinds of life situations lead to the risk of homelessness and homelessness for women? How do women’s homelessness differ from men’s homelessness? What should be taken into account when working with women in difficult life situations? Does homelessness mean more to women than just lack of permanent residence? The NEA project seeks to answer these questions.

The goal of the NEA project is that in the future women experiencing homelessness or its threat have the right to:

  • get into safety unconditionally,
  • become heard and seen without being labelled,
  • find a housing solution suitable for her needs,
  • get comprehensive support based on her needs and true self,
  • grow into a person who knows her own boundaries.

This goal is achieved through the development of a specific work approach and housing practices, strengthening expertise by experience and creating new, scattered housing solutions. Furthermore, it is important to highlight the homelessness of women as a phenomenon. The project will also develop an impact assessment of work practices.

Actors involved

  • Helsinki Deaconess Institute
  • Blue Ribbon Foundation
  • No Fixed Abode NGO
  • Street Mission in Rauma Region
  • Y-Foundation
  • The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters
  • EJY Association