Heka’s Resident of the Year: “This is worry-free living”
Heka’s Resident of the Year was announced on 21 November at the ‘Ilta Hekan kanssa’ (‘Evening with Heka’) event. Anne Vuori has been living at Heka's Torpparinmäki location for twenty years and would prefer it if tenants did not have to defend their form of housing.
This year, Heka’s Resident of the Year was found in Torpparinmäki in North Helsinki. Anne Vuori has been living at a Heka location in an area that she describes as peaceful and close to nature for around twenty years.
“It feels like a village here. We look out for one another and visit each other’s homes. Doing so builds safety,” Vuori says.
Anne is familiar not only with her own housing company, but with broader housing and land use planning matters in the Helsinki area as well. She has made it her mission to pursue the interests of tenants.
“It is important to me that everyone is treated equally and that the tenants of all Heka locations are on the same footing. Maybe it is a bit crazy for me to keep working on these things year after year.”
Worry-free living on rent
For Vuori, living on rent is the obvious choice.
“My parents always lived on rent as well. I would prefer it if us tenants did not have to defend our form of housing.”
In Vuori’s opinion, there are a lot of benefits to living on rent: For example, a rental apartment is easy to switch when necessary, and any maintenance in the apartment is taken care of by the landlord. If the refrigerator breaks down, the owner orders and pays for a new one. Vuori also points out that buying an apartment in Helsinki costs no small amount of money.
“This is worry-free living. We live just like we would if we owned the apartment and do a lot of things ourselves as well.”
According to Vuori, she and her husband do a lot of volunteer yard work and take care of the yard with neighbours, for example, and the tenants at Torpparinmäki also spend a lot of time at the shared club room.
“The club room is used for a variety of events, from naming ceremonies to memorials. This autumn, one of our neighbours started running a handicrafts club, which is great for catching up with neighbours and enjoying a cup of coffee,” says Vuori.
“I must have done something right”
In the grounds for the decision to name Vuori Resident of the Year, she was described as a long-running tenant advocate who is always willing to help and take action on behalf of other tenants, a friendly person and “simply the best and right choice for Resident of the Year.” Vuori herself would never have believed that she would be named Resident of the Year.
“I was surprised that a person like me, who is so active and holds so many positions of trust, could be chosen as Resident of the Year. I am an avid collector of information and a lobbyist. Not everyone wants to put themselves in the spotlight like this, but I have personally chosen to speak up and defend tenants,” she says.
“I must have done something right. My husband remarked that finally someone appreciates all the things that you do,” Vuori says, moved.
Not only has Vuori helped her neighbours and been actively involved in the running of the housing company, she has also done a great deal to facilitate the flow of information. For example, she has set up a local community group called ‘Paloheinä-Pakila-Torpparinmäki ilmoittaa’ on Facebook, which currently has over 12,000 members.
“I take part in the discussion in the group and answer questions. I also share information if there is an Internet outage or other disruptions in our residential area, for example,” she says.
Vuori’s reputation has also spread beyond her home yard.
“One person told me that it was an easy choice to move here knowing who was chairing the resident committee and that any issues would certainly be taken care of,” Vuori says, smiling.
But what would make Vuori enjoy another 20 years at Torpparinmäki?
“I would like everything to stay the same: for neighbours to not move away and the area to always stay safe.”
The title of Resident of the Year
The Resident of the Year was announced on 21 November at the ‘Ilta Hekan kanssa’ (‘Evening with Heka’) event. In addition to the title, Anne Vuori was awarded a diploma, flowers and an S Group gift card.
Any Heka tenant can nominate “a Heka tenant who spreads around good neighbourly and community spirit, promotes tenants’ best interests, is positive and takes others into consideration” as Heka Resident of the Year.
The final choice is made jointly by representatives of the Tenant Advisory Board and Heka. The choice is made based on grounds instead of voting.