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National partner profile: Finland

Homeless Academy Association

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Homeless Academy Association was established in 2006 as part of the Helsinki Deaconess Institute's football project in association with Suojatiery (Crossing Society). They are supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and the Finnish Football Association.

They are based in Helsinki and organise competitions, coaching, educational and recreational activities for different groups, and coordinate activities with other social agencies.

They work closely with other partner organisations to organise activities for men and women who are or have recently been in substance abuse rehabilitation, were recently released from prison, are homeless or were homeless not long ago, and immigrants.

Homeless Academy offer a unique opportunity to change lives through football by supporting and coordinating training sessions, organising the homeless national football competition in Finland, and selecting a team to represent Finland at the Homeless World Cup.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Homeless Academy Association's mission is to act against social injustice and unequal distribution of public services and welfare. Homeless Academy Association create opportunities for people in difficult life situations to build their own identity, find value in their lives, and become more involved with society as a whole.

The goal is to provide activities through which homeless people and those addicted to drugs can gain positive experiences with their peers and develop self-esteem on the road to a drug-free life. As a result, many participants pursue education, employment, and find permanent homes.

Approximately 90% of players involved say that the programme has influenced their life situation positively.

Goals for the future

Tournaments

To expand the national league and to organise a Scandinavian championship tournament in August 2015

Women's Programmes

To bring a women’s team to the Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam 2015

Additional information

Partner since

2006

Football Activities

10 weekly football sessions across five cities, and five annual tournaments.

Team selection

They select their team from participants at the national tournament.

Non-football services

Homeless Academy provide educational and recreational activities for different groups according to their needs, and coordinates activities with other social agencies. They also offer other sporting activities, such as volleyball.

Participants challenges

Players are typically in drug or alcohol rehabilitation, were recently released from prison, or are immigrants.

Country challenges

There has been an increase in homeless youth and immigrants. In 2013, homeless immigrants constituted over 24% of homeless people and accounted for more than 60% of homeless families. In the same year, the number of homeless immigrants in Helsinki rose by 450 (Katisko, 2014).

Homlessness definition

Homelessness includes the following categories: people staying outdoors, in staircases, night shelters, hostels, or boarding houses for homeless people; those living in care or rehabilitation homes, or temporarily with friends or relatives due to lack of housing; and prisoners soon to be released but without housing (Luomanen, 2010).

Homelessness Statistics

In a single-day survey in 2011, the homeless population of Finland was 7,572. Since the 1980s, there has been a 50% reduction in the number of homeless people across Finland. There have been particular decreases in the number of long-term homeless people as a result of the national homelessness strategy (FEANTSA, 2012).

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