As we have already mentioned earlier in our blog, the number of homeless women has been increasing lately. Homeless women have been in the news topics and “Women of shadows” was also this year’s theme of the homeless night. According to Asunnottomien Yö webpage, there were at least 1200 homeless women in Finland last year and they many times face violence and abuse. They also often stay at their friends or relatives and this is why the number of homeless women is kind of hidden and it can actually be much bigger than the official number given.
I think it is great that there has been discussion about women’s homelessness lately and that women were the theme of the homeless night, because that raises people’s awareness about the issue. It also gives an opportunity for the homeless women to get their voice heard. But what else is done for the benefit of homeless women? Well, there is NEA project for example.
What is NEA then? NEA is a nationwide project which tries to find out why the number of homeless women is increasing and also to create solutions how homeless women would find the services better. The main goal of the project is to completely remove women’s homelessness. NEA started on 2018 and it’s meant to last till 2020. It is coordinated by Y-foundation and funded by STEA.
The idea is that in the future women who are homeless or women who have experienced homelessness could get better services. NEA aims that safety is guaranteed for these women without any requirements and that they would also get their voices heard without having the fear of stigma. These women should also get comprehensive support and they should all have an opportunity to find a housing solution that suites just for them.
And how is this achieved? In NEA project, homeless women are being encountered in individual work, in groups and in meeting places. It is very important to get their voices heard. The project wants to develop special support for women because many services in the recent years have been used mainly by men. According to Y-Foundations Juha Kaakinen, many services have actually been developed focusing on male substance abusers. That is why there is now a need for women’s low threshold services and safety homes. Women’s special needs should be seen.
NEA project also cooperates with Erasmus+ Women and homelessness project. There are seven countries in the project and they together want to improve services for homeless women. So, it is not only in Finland where these practices are being developed, its being done Europe-wide.
More about NEA: https://www.facebook.com/NEAhanke/