In English

Fighting segregation and homelessness among the most vulnerable through housing social work (SEGRA)

Researcher in charge: Professor Kirsi Juhila

Research group: Researcher Jenni Mäki, Researcher Mikko Ilmoniemi, Post-doc Researcher Johanna Ranta (SOC), Post-doc Researcher Päivikki Kuoppakangas, Professor Jari Stenvall (MAB), Senior Lecturer Jarkko Rasinkangas, Researcher Veera Niemi (UTU), Post-doc Researcher Riikka Perälä, Research Manager Saija Turunen (Y-Foundation)

Research period and funding: 1.9.2021–31.12.2023, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

Fighting segregation and homelessness among the most vulnerable through housing social work (SEGRA) focuses on the role of social work in combating regional inequality, segregation, and homelessness in large and developing Finnish cities within the specific framework of housing social work. The aim is to make visible and strengthen the position of social work in the housing and related service pathways of the most vulnerable people and thereby contribute to the construction of socially sustainable cities.

The project comprises two methodologically different but complementary parts to study the same phenomenon. The first, multi-method section focuses on housing social work in the processes of demolition and renovation of buildings, neighbourhoods, and communities through urban renewal. The common factor here is that residents, often in vulnerable positions and life situations, have to leave their rental accommodation and, therefore, their homes. The second, methodologically quantitative, part of the project develops and implements new ways of analysing the housing pathways that lead to homelessness, especially from the perspective of service avenues, and locates the role of housing social work in these routes. The sections start at the same time and are in constant dialogue with each other during the project.

The first part of the study answers the following questions:

1) What are the past, present, and future housing pathways of residents moving out of buildings to be demolished, renovated or sold, and what are their service needs in relation to their relocation?

2) How are the residents’ participation, rights, and agency realised (or not), and how are their senses of belonging and of integration into their new communities and neighbourhoods fulfilled and supported (or not) in the process?

3) What are the meanings of the old and new housing communities experienced by the residents during the process?

4) What do the change processes outlined in questions 1–3 look like when analysed within the framework of housing social work?

The second part of the research explores a further question:

5) What were the service pathways encountered by the homeless at different ages before their homelessness, and what do these tell us about the role of housing social work?

The project is theoretically connected to literature on geographies of exclusion and inclusion, home, segregation and gentrification, involuntary displacement, housing pathways, and relational autonomy.


Contact persons:

Kirsi Juhila (, PI, Tampere University

Jenni Mäki (, Tampere University

Veera Niemi (, University of Turku

Riikka Perälä (, Y-Foundation