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Managing Director’s review

The Turku Student Village Foundation was founded in 1966. According to the foundation’s rules, its main function is to guarantee that the students who study at educational establishments beyond primary school, and those continuing their studies at the Turku region, have access to rental apartments. An additional function of the foundation is to guarantee that graduates, other youth, foreign students, and researchers have access to rental and right-of-occupancy apartments.

To fulfill its function, the foundation acquires and builds conveniently located and reasonably priced properties and apartments with all the necessary additional spaces, in line with its budget. To fulfill its function, within the area where it operates the foundation builds student apartments, and if needed, other buildings, owns shares in housing co-operatives and real estate, takes care of reserving land for the future needs of the target group of its operations, maintains the administrative spaces of the student associations that have joined the foundation’s operational area and the spaces intended for the leisure activities of the students, and develops the services needed for comfortable living in the housing area, and takes other actions to enhance the social and economic situation of the people within its area of operations.

One fifth of the growing number of residents in Turku are students, and the Turku Student Village Foundation TYS offers an apartment to approximately one fifth of them. This ’one fifth rule’ is precise enough as a mnemonic. The popularity of renting has grown steadily in the biggest cities, including Turku. Taloustutkimus conducted a survey about landlords in Turku, called Turku Today 2018. Almost 550 respondents between the ages 15 to 79 from Turku, Raisio, Naantali, Kaarina and Lieto considered TYS to be the most well-known out of the ten landlords at the Turku region. The respondents estimated that living costs are the most important factor when choosing a rental apartment, and TYS was deemed the most affordable. Moreover, TYS took the top spot when asked how likely one is to recommend the landlord to one’s friends or acquaintances.

TYS utilizes ARA’s (The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland) different models of subsidies in order to construct affordable homes for students. The latest housing unit is Aitiopaikka, which serves as an example of how renting and student housing can be both high quality and affordable. The foundation also renovates and maintains its older property base. If needed, we can also give up some units, with which we may partly further the overall development of the rental apartment supply, among others. Additionally, we continue to grow our property base. We are aiming to build a thousand new student apartments during the period 2018-2022. The recently completed Aitiopaikka ’s share in that is over 250 apartments, and the Tyyssija project, currently under preparation, which will be at the west side of the Student Village, represents a share of slightly under 200 apartments. The next new project is Kylänkulma, to be built at the east side of the Student Village, whose planning is progressing this year and which is designed to have 350 apartments.

TYS participates in the city of Turku’s scheme ’the Citizens’ Energy Turn’, which forms a part of the sustainable development partnership carried out together with Sitra. The scheme aims to initiate supportive practices for companies, communities, and citizens of the municipality to participate in the climate bee of Turku, and to speed up the energy turn of the region. TYS wants to examine the total energy efficiency of their housing units, and to implement innovative energy solutions for instance in their new units.

Within the foundation there are currently ongoing digitization projects in order to streamline services and procedures. The possibilities of robotics are being investigated. TYS is planning to launch a chat bot in spring 2019 to serve customers in situations and times when it is most useful, for example due to its speed or infallibility. The web pages of TYS and the intranet will be updated during this spring.

There will be a follow-up to the fulfillment of the customer service pledge, announced in the beginning of 2018, which will provide valuable information on how well the services offered by the foundation work.

The foundation got a new managing director in the summer of 2018, following the retirement of Kalervo Haverinen. The new managing director is Risto Siilos.

The active and financial returns of the 52nd year of operations of the Turku Student Village Foundation was as expected.

The gross revenue of the foundation during the accounting period was approximately 26.7 M€. The grand total of the balance was 166.5 M€. Long term debt amounted to 126.9 M€ in total. The city of Turku and the foundation agreed to replace the debt repayment contract, due in February 2019 and approximating 7.6 M€, with a new debt with interest from the city of Turku, for the same sum of money.

The foundation did not increase rents in 2018, nor have they increased rents for the year 2019. The foundation continues to implement the updated strategy.

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