Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Destruction, Newsletter 125
Rally against vacancy: February 25, 2023 at 11 a.m. in front of the house Glasstr.6.
Our tour through the vacancy in Cologne leads us after Friedrich-Engels-Str, 7 and Engelbertstr.37 to Ehrenfeld.
Although in Cologne over 5000 dwellings stand empty, social departmental head Dr. Rau maintains that the housing market in Cologne does not permit it to accommodate the homeless in lockable single rooms and in dwellings. In view of the need and the misery on the street, this is not acceptable. The apartments, which have been vacant for years, must be requisitioned for the accommodation of the homeless.
Kai Hauprich in the February issue of DRAUSSENSEITER: “We have become socially accustomed to watching people die, to thinking this is normal. That must not be.”
Cologne housing subsidy 2022 – retrospective without perspective.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN Social Covenant) of 1966 enshrined the ‘right to housing’. This right implies that everyone should have the possibility of safe, affordable and adequate housing. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-658-24724-9_4
For years, the Cologne Tenants’ Association has criticized the Council’s mandate to build only 1,000 social housing units per year and demanded that at least 2,000 units be built annually. Although in the next three years alone, more than 6,000 subsidized apartments will fall out of the bond, the city government praises itself to the skies in its press release on housing promotion dated Feb. 13, 2023:
“In 2022, the Office of Housing – despite the current difficult situation with high construction costs and pandemic-related problems – issued funding commitments for a total of 1,327 apartments with rent and occupancy commitments for households with a housing entitlement certificate (2021: 1,254 apartments). This means that the Council’s mandate to promote at least 1,000 apartments per year was significantly exceeded for another year in a row. It is the best result in the last two decades.”
Advertising instead of policy.
After all, Dr. Rau also explains, “Unfortunately, more apartments will nevertheless fall out of rent control than will be added, so we must continue to expand the supply of affordable housing with all the instruments at our disposal.”
We ask Dr. Rau: What instruments do you have at your disposal?
Why don’t you explain in the press release how the supply of affordable housing will “continue” to be expanded with these instruments?
In November 2019, the Greens decided at their district party conference, among other things:
“We call for the establishment of at least one new carrier or a new public welfare-oriented company for special construction projects that aim at a high proportion of subsidized and affordable housing. And if we want to effectively curb the price spiral on the Cologne housing market, we should push for municipal land to be awarded only to publicly owned companies, public welfare-oriented cooperatives, and housing groups! In addition to its own construction activities, the city should also increasingly buy apartments and properties from large private, profit-oriented companies.”
On February 13, 2023, an article in the Stadt-Anzeiger about the new neighborhood in Deutzer Hafen said that 3000 apartments are to be built there. The word social housing did not appear. Instead, it was reported that the municipal company “Moderne Stadt”, which owns about 80% of the land in Deutzer Hafen, wants to “partially sell” it. Is it still possible?
Under “Creating more living space”, the green solutions for affordable housing stated: “Ownership is an obligation, and this also applies to designated housing construction areas. Inactive property owners must be consistently forced to comply with the development plan by imposing fines. As a last resort, we also do not rule out remunicipalization.”
Where is the remunicipalization of Mülheim South?
In Hamburg, 100 years of rent control for new social housing was just decided:
Is this “instrument” also available to Dr. Rau? Or is he hearing again from the mayor, who is beholden to the owners, that he should dream of something else?
First partial development plan for Deutzer Hafen adopted
The council has decided on 9.2.2023 a development plan for Deutzer Hafen. It is a first partial infrastructure plan (streets, squares, green areas, harbor basin, school). Further development plans will follow. They will define the building blocks.
Traffic issues in particular have been controversial. Car traffic is to be connected to the supra-local road network via the Im Hasental road. Nevertheless, an additional traffic load is feared for Poll. The council decided – also at the request of the left-wing faction – to make improvements to the traffic report. The public transport connection to the Messe/Deutz station is to be improved and Poll is to be effectively protected from slow-moving traffic.
In the further political discussion, the proportion of publicly subsidized and
of publicly subsidized and rent-controlled housing and the sale of land currently owned by the municipal company moderne stadt. The tenants’ association, DGB, Recht auf Stadt (Right to the City) and the left-wing parliamentary group are calling for a significant increase in the agreed share of 30% publicly subsidized housing. They also demand that priority be given to the leasehold of the land to companies and associations working for the common good.
(A guest contribution by Dr. Günter Bell, Managing Director of the DIE LINKE parliamentary group in the Cologne City Council)
Advice and action
The Vringstreff has put the help and offers for homeless people on the net in 6 languages: Bulgarian, German, English, French, Polish and Romanian.
“Freikaufen Köln” helps people who have received a fine for driving without a ticket and end up in jail because they can’t pay it. https://vringstreff.de/freikaufen-koeln/
The Catholic University has developed a city map with services for homeless people in Cologne.
Broadcasts, reports, news
Homeless people are victims of #violence again and again – Deutschlandfunk has addressed this issue in a good radio feature. Paul Neupert – technical advisor of the BAG W – also has his say in it: according to the BAG W, at least 615 homeless people have been killed in Germany since 1989. “The best protection is your own home. So you have to work as a society to ensure that everyone has a right to a home and then gets it.” https://www.hoerspielundfeature.de/angst-haben-fast-alle-100.html
We are the ones who keep the whole country running (…) but we are not allowed to live here anymore.” And that’s why: Socialize
Sustainable construction with existing buildings
25.02.2023, 11 a.m. Rally against vacancy, Glasstr.6
02.03.2023, 15:30 Social committee
23.03.2023, 15:30 Council
25.03.2023 Housing Action Day
For a city without homelessness
For a city without 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
February 17, 2023
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe
Call for donations
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Donation account MachMit! e.V. IBAN: DE53370501981011342704
Intended purpose: Aktionsbündnis
Translated with DeepL