Unfortunately Oranssi does not have any vacant apartments at the moment. However, when an apartment becomes vacant it will be announced at the top of this page.
Information on where and when to apply will be found in the apartment announcement. All applications must be handed in personally on given dates.
HOW TO APPLY FOR AN ORANSSI APARTMENT?
Oranssi Apartments can be applied for by anyone under 25 years of age including young families, in which at least one of the adults is under 25 years old. Despite the age limit, the duration of residency at Oranssi Apartments is not limited. The most important criteria for choosing new residents are: age, low income, and an interest in Oranssi's active and independent way of housing. A rent deposit is not required and a bad credit history will not affect your chances of getting an apartment. There is no waiting list for Oranssi apartments as each apartment is applied for separately. Filling the application form must happen at the location of the vacant apartment during the application period. The application form cannot be submitted by mail or e-mail. All applications will be handled confidentially.
After receiving the applications, the current residents will go through all the applications and propose a new tenant to the board of Oranssi Apartments. The board will then make the final decision based on this proposal. The new tenant will be informed, and before signing a lease contract he/she has to present the most recent confirmed tax certificate.
Living at Oranssi is communal and the residents are expected to work actively and independently for the community by maintaining and improving their own living environment. The residents share collectively the responsibilities over yard work, communal spaces and the maintenance and renovations of the houses. In addition, the residents have regular house meetings where common matters are discussed and decided.
Compared to conventional forms of rental housing, living at Oranssi requires significantly stronger commitment and readiness to invest personal free time to common work and house meetings.
The work done by the tenants enables Oranssi to maintain the rents affordable. Oranssi apartments are in old wooden buildings, therefore the comfort of living does not always match the modern standards of rental housing.
ORANSSI RY AND ORANSSI ASUNNOT OY
(Oranssi Association and Oranssi Apartments Ltd.)
Oranssi has a youth cultural centre close to the centre of Helsinki and inexpensive communal housing for young people in old protected wooden buildings, forming several communities that are located around Helsinki. The idea of Oranssi is to provide young people the opportunity to independently produce their own kind of culture and to self-create their living environment. Oranssi housing and cultural activities are organized by young people, and aimed for the young, who also get to strongly participate in every level of the organization, from decision-making to the actual physical work.
Oranssi's cultural events have no age limits and no alcohol or other substances are permitted in the premises. Only activities that have no direct links to any political parties or religions, are accepted. The purpose of the cultural centre is to facilitate groups and projects that would otherwise have diffficulty in finding a space. Oranssi also offers the necessary technical equipment and some guidance with practical matters. Still, there is no supervision and everything is based on trust and giving responsibility to the young people.
The name Oranssi stands for the colour orange, and it was originally chosen because it is not affiliated with any political party. Oranssi started at the turn of the 1980's and the 90's as a squat movement. The squats usually didn't hold for long, but they allowed the activists to reach a position where negotiating with the local authorities was possible. Already since the beginning, the movement had two objectives: to find a space for young people's free cultural activities and to create affordable housing for the young.
Eventually, Oranssi got hold of some buildings that were rented from the city. In 1991, to administer the new housing communities, Oranssi Asunnot oy was founded by Oranssi ry, which still remains the company's sole owner. Oranssi Asunnot started with just three houses, but since then the number of houses has grown so that Oranssi now has 63 flats, located in 11 houses, and about 110-120 people living in them. Nowadays, squatting has been left behind and nearly all of the apartment buildings have been bought by Oranssi Asunnot. The residents take care of the buildings and participate in the renovations with the help of Oranssi's paid workers. They also have regular house meetings to discuss and decide over common issues. When there are free flats, the new tenants are chosen in house meetings. The strategy of participatory renovations and deliberately choosing slightly lower housing standards than what is customary, allow Oranssi to refurbish new flats with clearly lower expenses than other small private players in the housing market.
Oranssi offers housing to young people that have a low income and an acute need for an apartment. The new residents have to be under 25 years when they move in, but the time of residency is not limited, so they can stay at Oranssi as long as they want. Most of the flats are quite small, though, and people tend to move out after having children. This has lead to an always on-going generational change, as older tenants move out and new young people move in. And, with the people, the communities change over time.
On the cultural front, over the years, Oranssi has had several cultural spaces that were rented from the city, but which all ended up being demolished by the city. Finally in 2008 Oranssi got a 30-year lease for its current cultural centre, and started refurbishing the building, applying its principle of participatory renovation. There was a reconstruction workshop for young people that went on until the ground floor was opened to public in September 2014. Now the floor serves as a club and a rehearsal space for different groups. The upstairs remains unfinished and Oranssi is currently searching for funding to complete the renovations and to finally have the permission to open it to the public.
Oranssi is funded publicly. Although some revenue is raised from selling entrance tickets and renting out the club space, operating the cultural centre is mostly paid by the city of Helsinki Youth Department. The refurbishment projects are often funded by the Finnish state-owned gambling monopoly RAY, the Museum Authorities, and the Ministry of Culture and Education. On the housing side, Oranssi Asunnot gets most of its income from the rents paid by the residents, but also takes loans from the city and receives grants to cover major renovation costs.
During more than 25 years, Oranssi has transformed from an active social movement to a well-established non-profit organization that works in a close and mutually beneficial partnership with the city. Today Oranssi's focus is more in maintaining and administering its buildings. And, as the cultural centre is still only partially operating, and the need for youth apartments is more pressing than ever, there is still a lot more to work for.