Newsletter 119 of 06 January 2023

Action Alliance against Homelessness and Urban Degradation

Abolish homelessness at last
A report by Hans Mörtter

There is room!!! – I didn’t want to take photos. I was out early in the morning of 4 Jan with employees of the public order office around the cathedral area.
The idea was to wake people up so that they would leave their night-time accommodation, which would “disturb” them during the day ….. I was impressed by the respectful and familiar way in which the public order officers dealt with each other.
They know about each other and that it is like this every morning.
“Every day is a groundhog’s day” … – It can’t be! This is a matter for politics and not for the public order office with its A-card!
This is how I met Matthias, about 68 years old, who loves to read books and has a pile of books with him at his makeshift accommodation. He is allowed to stay because he is so side-tracked.
His dream is to have his own little flat. I put him on the Housing first list at Vringstreff. Later, we met a young woman on a grassy strip who had previously vacated her sheltered spot in front of the Museum Ludwig.
She was doing her emergency toilet and packed her urine in a plastic bag when approached. – Where are public toilets????
The scene was degrading.
I was very touched by the people I saw that morning – they are human beings, they have a right to dignity and housing, a home in a rich society.
I wish for Cologne a courageous, committed policy that takes care of them and puts the real estate office under massive pressure because there are vacant properties.
That’s all I have to say in a nutshell.

The photos in the appendix of homeless people in Cologne are by Petra Metzger from the book Klaus Jünschke, Rainer Kippe, Martin Stankowski (eds.): “Ratschläge. Against housing shortage and urban degradation in Cologne. Verlag Weissmann, Cologne 2020, p.86ff.

Winter aid telephones to protect against frostbite
The Cologne warmth bus telephone 0176 24071312 is only manned from 6 – 11 p.m., say the Friends of the Street, if you call out of hours.

The Cologne Winter Aid telephone from the SKM is manned around the clock: 0221 56097310

Help for young homeless people in Cologne
The Stadt-Anzeiger about Off-Road-Kids
On the Road – Children, Youth and Social Help e.V. (KJSH)
B.O.J.E Counselling Bus
Looks e.V. for young men and trans* people who engage in male-male and transgender prostitution
Help and services for homeless people in Cologne

Profit and crime
IG BAU sees an increase in illegal wage dumping by circumventing the legal minimum wage and increased illegal employment on construction sites.
“The growing pressure of costs and competition will also drive criminal machinations,” says the deputy federal chairman of IG BAU, Harald Schaum. Overall, he says, the state needs to keep a closer eye on companies and their employment practices.
Instead of calling for the profit-oriented construction industry to be transferred to common ownership, IG BAU wants customs staff to be doubled to 16,000 customs officers in the financial control of so-called “moonlighting”. Taxpayers are not only supposed to live with further rising rents, but also to finance the growing state expenditure incurred by controlling the crimes of the profit-oriented construction industry. Predictable: The successful control activities of the new customs officers will contribute to further rent increases.

Housing benefit
Strong increase in rents expected
Housing costs expected to increase significantly in 2023 due to rising interest rates and material prices
Housing Benefit Plus: A significant increase and expansion of support for rising housing costs. At the same time: Well-intentioned must (be able to) be done.
New housing benefit calculator
The housing benefit is expensive and in the end is passed on to the shareholders of large corporations like Vonovia, Lay stressed in an interview with the weekly newspaper “Das Parlament” (publication date 14 November 2022). It is completely disproportionate and unsustainable in terms of budgetary policy that the federal government spends two billion euros a year on social housing, but 16 billion on housing subsidies and costs of accommodation for Hartz IV. Instead of permanently spending millions on transfer payments, rents should be curbed. “The whole world is on a shopping spree in the German rental housing market right now, why don’t our own municipalities join in?” asked Lay. Every property purchase is a long-term investment and can protect tenants from displacement.

To read
The seventh issue of our urban policy magazine Común is out! We are publishing Común #7 completely digitally in the form of a blog. There will no longer be a print edition of the magazine. The high paper and printing costs as well as the costly distribution made us decide so. But Común will remain and is now freely available without paywall or other access restrictions.

Programmes, news, news
Christoph Butterwegge predicts further rise of Amut.
The Cologne real estate entrepreneur Christoph Alexander Kahl donated 100,000 euros to the CDU in Cologne last year.
Homeless people with mental illnesses are to be able to be forcibly committed against their will in future. This is how Mayor Eric Adams wants to make New York safer.

Right to housing
“The real estate business attracts criminals”.
Düsseldorf: Tenants were first driven into homelessness and now live in a dump. An interview with Johannes Dörrenbächer

Canada largely restricts purchase of real estate by foreigners.
Foreign investors would drive up prices and make it difficult for Canadians to own a home.
Critics argue that it would be better to speed up the construction of new housing.

09.01.2023, 19 h, Right to the City, Open Meeting, BüZE Old Fire Station
17.01.2023, 7 pm Werner Rügemer: What and who is behind Blackrock? Part 1
Peace Education Centre, Obenmarspforten 7-11, 50667 Cologne
18.01.2021, 19:30, The End of Capitalism. Reading and discussion with Ulrike Herrmann. Citizens’ Centre Nippes, Alteberger Hof, Mauenheimer Str.92. VA: attac
19.01.2022, 15:30, Social Committee, Spanischer Bau

21.1.2023, 20:00, “Ithaka” – Film and discussion about the fight for Julian Assange.
Cinema 813 in the BRÜCKE, Hahnenstraße 6, 50667 Cologne

26.01.2023, 7 pm, Sharing power fairly. Karl Rahner Academy

27.01.2022, 18:30-22 h, Enough is Enough. Against rising prices and social inequality. Kulturbunker Mülheim.

31.01.2023, 7 pm Werner Rügemer: What and who is behind Blackrock? Part 2
Friedensbildungswerk, Obenmarspforten 7-11, 50667 Cologne, Germany
09.02.2023, 14:30 Council

For a city without homelessness
For a city without evictions
For a city without drug-related deaths
For a city without violence against women and children
For a city without deportations
For a city without poverty
07 January 2023
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe

Appeal for donations
To further improve our public relations work, we need money:
Donation account MachMit! e.V. IBAN: DE53370501981011342704
Intended purpose: Aktionsbündnis

Translated with DeepL

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