Homelessness and Ex-Offenders

It is known that a prisoner doesn´t have the same access to things like everyone else outside the bars. While at a prison, the inmate does not have access to the internet, the phone calls are restricted, and all of this makes it hard for him/her to find a house for the time of the release.

In Helsinki metropolitan area, apartments are hard to find for everyone and they are expensive, but then again, harder for an ex-convict. He/she doesn´t have the means to afford the rent, and housing benefits might be delayed.

KRITS(Kriminaalihuollon tukisäätiö)https://www.krits.fi/ is an organization in the third sector which target ex-offenders and operates mainly in the metropolitan area.

KRITS have ex-prisoners as staff and can provide peer-support, temporary housing solutions when a prisoner is released. They help prisoners a few months before their release as well as after release for as long as he or she needs support.

In recent years, the situation of long-term homeless people has slightly improved with nationwide homelessness programs. However, the number of persons with a criminal record released from prison, is still high. “About 30 prisoners are released every year in Kerava alone, of which at least ten have no place to go and sleep the night after the prison gate closes.” (Helsingin Sanomat 2019).

“When a person ends up in prison, he/she often loses his/her rented apartment in particular. When liberation is ahead, housing is not always dealt with on time or housing is simply not found. However, homelessness affects life in many ways,” Leppo(Kriminaalihuollon tukisäätiöstä)


According to Rautiainen, (chairman of VAT – Vapautuvien asumisen tuen verkosto) it is important to recognize that homeless people with a criminal background are a particular group which homelessness is just one of their challenges. The VAT (Freedom to Live Housing Support Network) has been in operation for ten years and focuses on preventing and reducing homelessness in Finland.

The struggle is huge for an ex-offender and unfortunately, some of them go back to prison as life outside the bars is hard, and having nowhere to go or which direction to take, prison seems to be the “roof” they didn´t find outside.

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