Will housing allowance finally start to make sense? Find out this week! The political pressure that students have generated for solving the problems of general housing allowance has made the Environment Committee of the Finnish Parliament look for ways to stop both the discrimination against people living in shared apartments and the spying of the relationships of people who receive the allowance.
This week, the Environment Committee is hearing Kela, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of the Environment – in other words, all the parties needed to reform the legislation on housing allowance. As we mentioned last week (https://www.facebook.com/HYY.HUS/posts/10154651386301986), the Environment Committee agrees with us that Kela’s interpretations on roomies being cohabiting partners complicate students’ living arrangements in a completely incomprehensible manner.
Issues that the Committee will discuss with the ministries and Kela include the household-based nature of the housing allowance, making shared living easier and, most likely, the “part-apartment norm” currently being circulated for comments (see https://www.facebook.com/HYY.HUS/posts/10154658338036986).
It seems that our message that it is not Kela’s business to interpret people’s relationships and complicate living in shared apartments starts to be registered. According to our sources, Kela has begun to prepare for updating its ideas on household-based benefits. Kela’s initiative is needed to make the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health use legislative means to instruct Kela, in turn, to change its practices.
The direction that the development of the housing allowance takes will largely become clear this week. Now we just have to maintain the pressure!