Newsletter 111 of November 12, 2022

Action alliance against housing shortage and urban destruction, newsletter 111

Voices of the homeless in the arena on Nov. 10, 2022 at 30 Years of Ass Huh:
Melissa Linda Rennings and Rainer Kippe

Moderator: Linda, on your sweater it says “Streetwork”, one can see directly what you do. You work on the streets with homeless people, especially with women and girls. What is the situation here in Cologne for women and girls on the streets?

Linda: There are no statistics. The proportion of men is very high, that of women is small, but in recent years women have caught up. In the meantime, you can say fifty-fifty. The situation of women is very extreme here in Cologne as in other cities. Women who have experienced sexual violence, for example, who are traumatized, need special protective measures, and there are too few of them in Cologne. What is also bad, we have no places for the people with animals on the street. That is a scandal, they have to stay outside right from the start. They don’t get any help.

I do focal point work, in hot spots, outreach work and see how people are doing, what can be done for them.

Moderator: You know life on the streets, you have lived on the streets yourself and you know how dangerous it is. How can you help, concretely?

Linda: It’s very different, and I’m an expert from my own experience, you can say that. I’m a qualified recovery facilitator, which means I can help people with mental health problems and addiction problems. How can I help? There is the emergency help, I can first look sleeping bag, sleeping mat, food, drink, things like that. I can call, where is there a free place in an emergency overnight stay, I can refer to the reso services, so they can get a referral, I can arrange a doctor or a detox. And above all, if they need protection, the women, protection from rape, from assault, I think it’s important that they protect themselves with a dog. That’s exactly why I think it’s so negative that they’re not allowed in the facilities.

We go in during the winter, many of us go home, have a warm bed, a shower. Many can’t imagine if you don’t have that, if you have to lie outside, in the wind and weather in a sleeping bag, forcibly, and you’re still evicted there. I plead for opening the campsites, for offering them to the homeless, as a stop-gap.

I have another request to all of you. If you pass by somewhere where someone is sitting with a cup, do not pass by carelessly. A smile costs you nothing. The question, are you hungry or thirsty, costs you nothing. And if you get an answer, then you can consider whether you give something. And maybe you ask then, what do you want? I also don’t want to get something in front of me. You wouldn’t believe how happy these people are, with such appreciation.

Moderator: Rainer, you have been taking care of the homeless for 50 years. How has the situation changed?

Rainer: It’s about a human right, the human right to housing, it’s in the UN Charter and it’s not respected in this city. More than 10,000 people don’t have a place to live, they have to look for a place to stay night after night. They have no space for themselves, for themselves alone. Or they have to live in mass quarters, with others. We are fighting against these conditions and we have issued the slogan: Abolish homelessness at last!

And for this we need your support.

This is possible because this city is able to create an apartment for everyone.

There is a shortage of 80,000 apartments in Cologne. More than 80,000 apartments have already been built in Cologne and we demand that this happens again. How do we manage that? For that, I have the three big Bs: 

The first B is build. We can build.

The second B is seize. No one is allowed to leave housing vacant. The city has the right to seize vacant housing and put homeless people there.

The third is, if all else fails, squat. We have squatted over 100 houses in Cologne, time and time again. Many of these houses have been saved. We will continue to do so.

I invite everyone who is here, come with us to a big rally on Heumarkt in front of City Hall. We want to tell the Council and Ms. Reker that they are finally seizing the vacant so-called Russian houses.

And we invite everyone every Saturday, at 11:11, the Cologne time, we meet in front of the houses in Friedrich-Engels-Str. in Sülz, and demonstrate so that these houses can finally be inhabited.

After Linda and Rainer came “All lost, no apartment, no work no money. They are just called bums, despised by the rest of the world”:

Homeless accommodation in Cologne not legally compliant and not humane

The Society for Innovative Social Research and Social Planning (GISS) conducted a survey for the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia on the homeless without shelter and the concealed homeless. The results were published in March 2022. In the final chapter, “Recommendations for Action,” p. 87 on emergency housing states:

“The design of emergency shelter for the homeless has also recently come under pressure in the context of the Corona pandemic. However, national studies on homelessness and studies by the German Institute for Human Rights, and many statements by associations, have already criticized the lack of minimum standards and pointed out that there is a need for action in the humane design of emergency assistance, especially since many homeless people have to be accommodated not only for a short time, but often for a longer period. Narrow time limits, protection from the rigors of the weather only during nighttime hours, or exclusion of out-of-towners from housing are unlawful; needs-based and target-group-specific services are necessary, and humane housing includes not least protection of privacy, protection against violence, adequate protection against infection, and sufficient counseling services to keep the need for housing as short as possible. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia should therefore provide the municipalities with recommendations on how to organize accommodation practices in a legally compliant and humane manner.

VinziRast-mittendrin – A diverse community

VinziRast-mittendrin is an innovative social housing project in which formerly homeless people, refugees and students* live. This community could hardly be more diverse: people of different life stories, cultures, and age groups come together here, enriching and challenging each other to the same degree.

People who have experienced isolation can build new bonds here, gaining confidence in themselves and others. The community can be healing and at the same time enable development for all who contribute. The house offers plenty of space for encounters: in communal kitchens and living rooms, on the roof terrace and in the workrooms. The single rooms offer the possibility of retreat.

VinziRast-mittendrin was opened in 2013. Twenty-six residents share ten shared apartments in pairs or threes.

Political crisis or energy crisis?

“Knowing about the causes and not overlooking them for opportunistic reasons is the prerequisite for being able to change something. I take that for granted, at least in my everyday life and in my normal life. That you first get clarity about the causes and then go about solving them. If you can’t do that in this country because you have such a close, loving relationship with your government and your state, then you don’t like to solve the problem in principle. Then one obviously likes it better to stage oneself as a good soul.

Help is always needed once the need for help is in the world. The German social associations have been helping for over 150 years-and I think that’s a sad judgment. If one no longer wants to deal with the causes of distress in Germany or in the world, then help is not even the first step to overcoming the problems, but only the care of suffering.” (Arian Schiffer-Nasserie)

Hermann Bühlbecker, head of the Aachen-based Lambertz Group : “You don’t mess with your main raw material supplier as a country with an energy-intensive industry by imposing sanctions. There is a double standard here, after all, we didn’t impose sanctions on the U.S. when they unjustifiably attacked Iraq.”
(Cologne Press Club Newsletter, 11.11.2022)

Broadcasts, news, news

Disarstar and its commitment to the homeless

Who is the next homeless person, asks an exhibition on display in Hamburg until March 12, 2023.

German banks’ new business in real estate loans to private households and the self-employed slumped by 28 percent in September compared with the same month last year.igen. With a volume of 16.1 billion euros, new business was at its lowest level since 2014, according to the


Nov. 12, 2022, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., rally against vacancies: “Apartments for homeless and refugees,” corner of Berrenrather Str. / Friedrich Engels Strasse

17.11.2022, 3:30 p.m. Social Committee

20.11.2022, from 12:00 to 15:00, 5th StadtraumSpaziergang – “aus ALT mach NEU” in Köln Müngersdorf, event by Stadtraum 5 und 4 e.V., meeting point: Friedhof Müngersdorf, Kirchhof 4, 50993 Köln

Nov. 30, 2022, 7 p.m., Prison instead of fine? Karl Rahner Academy, Jabachstr.3

1.12.2022, 7:30 p.m. Cologne can also be different invites to the discussion of the administrative reform in the Domforum.

For a city without homelessness
For a city without forced evictions
For a city without drug deaths
For a city without violence against women and children
For a city without deportations
For a city without poverty

November 12, 2022
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe


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Donation account MachMit! e.V.  IBAN: DE53370501981011342704

Intended purpose: Aktionsbündnis

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