housing first 


The Salvation Army in Finland manages three supported housing units. These units implement the Housing First model and provide apartments for people experiencing chronic homelessness. Two units are in Helsinki, one is inEspoo.

Housing First principle states that the first step in solving problems around homelessness should be the provision of housing. Each resident at the supported housing unit has their own rental apartment and lease. Community education methods and low-threshold work activity programme are used to accomplish the mission. Residents are not required to abstain from intoxicants when they move in, but they are encouraged to work towards abstinence. Skilled staff comprised of social and healthcare professionals provide support for residents around the clock. The Salvation Army in Finland provides the housing services for city of Helsinki/Espoo.

Additionally, The Salvation Army operates Castréninkatu unit. It offers temporary  housing for up to 53 residents of Helsinki, who have become homeless and need support. In cooperation with the city of Helsinki, the unit staff tries to find more permanent housing solutions for the residents.



Alppikatu supported housing unit

Alppikatu 25, 00530 Helsinki // [email protected] // [email protected]   

  • Unit Manager/Responsible Social Counsellor Maarit Laakkonen-Eriksson
    Tel 045 7734 7357
  • Counsellors (24/7) Tel 045 773 473 67 
  • Responsible Counsellor Tel 045 7734 7362 
  • Nurse Tel 045 7734 7363 
  • Physiotherapist Tel 050 544 7827 
  • Work Activity 045 7734 8076 & 045 7734 7365

Alppikatu supported housing unit opened after a yearlong renovation in November 2012. The renovation transformed the hostel with 240 beds into an apartment building with 80 small apartments. A professionally skilled staff supports the residents 24 hours a day. Residents have an opportunity to participate in work activity. The Salvation Army has offered housing services for homeless people of Helsinki in the Kallio neighbourhood since 1907.

Castréninkatu unit next to Alppikatu housing unit offers temporary housing 

Castréninkatu 24-26 A (2. Floor), 00530 Helsinki // [email protected]  

  • Unit Manager Mari Pyyhkälä Tel 050 524 5862 
  • Counsellors (24/7) Tel 044 756 2153 
  • Responsible Counsellor Stefan Vahtra Tel 0469220451 
  • Social Counsellor Tel 044 705 6514

Castréninkatu unit (53 vacancies) offers temporary housing for Helsinki residents, who are homeless and need support. Residents are offered help with service coordination and their life management skills are assessed in various ways. Periods of residence are kept as short as possible and moving to more permanent housing is always the goal. Residents are referred to the unit from Hietaniemenkatu Service Centre, the round-the-clock service centre for the homeless in Helsinki.

Pitäjänmäki supported housing unit

Pitäjänmäentie 12, 00380 Helsinki
fi[email protected]  // Facebook 

  • Unit Manager Pasi Lehto Tel 044 7577981
  • Counsellors (24/7) Tel 044 757 7999
  • Responsible Counsellor Hanna Tyrväinen Tel 044 7578 004
  • Nurse Tel 044 7577 997
  • Physiotherapist Tel 050 544 7827
  • Work Activity Coordinator 044 3124259

The Salvation Army opened the Pitäjänmäki supported housing unit in winter 2011. All residents have their own lease. The staff is there to support the residents’ permanent housing despite challenging factors. They help residents with basic needs, support and guide them through social and health problems and help them feel socially included. 

The mission is to offer the residents quality of life, which includes an apartment and the feeling of being in control of one's life. The unit implements the mission for example through community education methods and work activity.
Y-Foundation owns the building.





Väinölä supported housing unit

Kuusiniemi 5, 02710 Espoo
[email protected]

  • Unit Manager Jarkko Jyräsalo Tel 045 77345379 
  • Counsellors (24/7) Tel 045 7734 5407
  • Work Activity Coordinator Tel 045 7734 5479

As part of national programmes aimed at reducing homelessness, Väinölä supported housing unit in Viherlaakso, Espoo opened in March 2014.

The unit has 35 vacancies and provides housing for 18-to 65-year-old homeless residents from Espoo. Staff of 11 social and healthcare professionals take care of the residents. The building was built and is owned by Y-Foundation. The city of Espoo is leasing the apartments that are then subleased to residents. The Foundation of The Salvation Army in Finland is the service provider.

Housing unit through the eyes of the resident 

"It was easy to move here. It took one and a half hours to get my stuff in the new home. There is nature around and it is warm. My apartment is in good condition, although of course there is some wear and tear.” - Pauli 

"I like living here, I’m not going to go anywhere. This is enough! The place is big enough, I have enough support. If I get to live, I’ll stay here until I’m 100 years old!" - Hanski  

"At first it was difficult, I couldn’t relax. All the time I was thinking about having to pack up and leave. I hadn't realized I was not homeless anymore. This is my own home." 

Read more about the Salvation Army's supported housing

Housing first - Pelastusarmeija ( War Cry 10-2018) 

Housing unit administration 

Persons in charge of housing services in Helsinki metropolitan area at Salvation Army territorial headquarters:

  • Section Head for Programme Tero Saajoranta Tel 09 681 2300
  • Social Programme Manager Jari Karppinen Tel 09 681 2300