Tampere’s poverty program has been a significant tool in the city’s efforts to reduce the impact of poverty and promote equality. Due to the cuts by the Orpo government, the need for the poverty program is greater than ever.
Over three municipal terms, implemented poverty programs have brought concrete actions and improvements to the lives of Tampere residents. However, they have also presented the city with a continuous challenge to meet growing needs while not receiving significantly increased funding. Various crises have increased poverty, and the transition to well-being areas has blurred the responsibility for addressing poverty.
In 2023, Tampere’s poverty program has been revamped to align with the municipality’s new role and responsibilities. The percentage of low-income households in Tampere is 16.8%, higher than the national average of 13.2%. The number of poor in Tampere has nearly doubled in the last 20 years.
A particular problem in Tampere is the unexpected intergenerational transmission of poverty and disadvantage, along with the segregation of residential areas. Fortunately, this can be addressed at the city level by supporting affordable housing construction in different neighborhoods.
Tangible Benefits of Tampere’s Poverty Program for Residents
What do metrics tell us about poverty in Tampere? Poverty indicators are diverse, reflecting the population’s income level and well-being. The use and need for active passes, Kaikukortti, food distribution, and other support measures have been indicators of how the city has responded to the challenges of poverty. Statistically, the achievements have been significant, but challenges have also grown.
What have poverty programs achieved? The results of the first two poverty programs are evident in practical actions, such as the active pass, Kaikukortti, food distribution, and financial counseling. The city has especially invested in services for children, youth, and families, lowering the threshold for accessing services. Accessibility to cultural services, museums, and concerts has improved, and a significant amount of food aid has been distributed through the food bank to those in need.
In the future, Tampere’s poverty program must continue strongly, despite cuts by Petteri Orpo’s government casting shadows over program funding. Continuing the food bank, active pass, and Kaikukortti is crucial as they have proven to be significant support mechanisms for city residents. The food bank, in particular, has been a vital help in providing food to those who cannot afford basic necessities. Securing funding for the food bank and other food distribution is crucial, and the city must ensure adequate funding for these activities.
The support measures for combating poverty are not just financial aids; they also bring human joy and opportunities to those who would otherwise be left behind. City-coordinated programs, such as Taidekaari and volunteer mentoring, are part of a broader effort to reduce inequality and provide everyone with the opportunity to participate in culture and society.
I hope that Tampere’s poverty program continues to be strong and innovative, able to respond to changing needs. While challenges exist, the city’s commitment to reducing poverty lays the foundation for a sustainable and just society. In the future, it is important to maintain and strengthen these actions so that every resident of Tampere can feel part of a growing city. It is also crucial to improve collaboration with the well-being area to more effectively address poverty.
Learn more about combating poverty from the Audit Committee’s Evaluation Report!