Subsidised housing? The paradoxical imaginaries of finnish non-profit rental housing
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As a developed welfare state, Finland has a long history of and continuing political support for housing policies, ranging from non-profit rental housing to owner-occupied housing supported by tax deductions. The current neoliberal critique, however, has questioned the efficiency and moral foundations of the established policies. This critique has taken as its target the difference between market rents and non-profit rents, citing this as an instance of ‘alternative costs’ for the city and, as such, as a form of subsidy that is unjustly distributed. However, the full picture of different housing subsidies – including those received by owner-occupiers – is not usually considered. The paper concludes that the current debate does not take into account the ways in which different subsidies interact in the approaches used to provide affordable housing in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. As such the critique becomes tacitly political, although it is represented in terms of rationality and justice.
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