Lahti evicts refugees under the threat of a fine: the reason was the complaint of the townspeople against the psychological rehabilitation department

Lahti Municipality is evicting the intensive care unit for refugees from the former retirement home where it was previously located. According to the city authorities, the activities of the department do not comply with the license. The Finnish Red Cross (FKK), which owns the branch, as well as the realtor who rents the premises for the activities of the FKK, deny this interpretation.

Lahti wants to terminate the only psychological rehabilitation department for refugees in Finland.

The intensive care unit is located in a former nursing home in Tapanila. According to the city authorities, the activities of the department do not correspond to the once issued license for the construction of a building, according to which the premises are intended for housing, and not for medical examination of patients.

Head of the regional department of FKK Minna Jussilainforms that the intensive care unit is preparing a counter-complaint together with the real estate company Tapanilan Kartanokodit Oy. Jussila sees no reason for eviction.

– I am extremely worried and surprised that we have not been able to get an answer from the city to the question of how we can change our activities so that it can continue. We asked the city authorities this question several times, ”says Jussila.

At the Tapanila branch, there are asylum seekers in need of psychological help, for example due to PTSD or severe stress. At the department, they undergo rehabilitation, after which they can return to the refugee reception centers and wait for a decision on their further fate.

There are 20 asylum seekers at the department at a time. They receive various assistance, including those related to psychological problems.

On average, a person spends 3 to 6 months at the department. The intensive care unit has 14 employees of the FKK.

Initially, the dispute between the city and the FKK branch arose from a complaint from residents living next door to the former retirement home. In 2020, they filed a complaint with the building supervisory authorities that activities were being carried out in the former nursing home that contradicted the building license. In their complaint, the tenants demanded to terminate the activities of the department, as it violated administrative norms. Residents who filed the complaint did not want to comment on the issue to the Yle news service.