Newsletter No 128 of 11 March 2023

Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 128

Rally against vacancy,

March 11, 2023, 11 a.m., Neusser Str. 39
In the house Neusser Str.39 only one apartment is still inhabited – by the owner of the house.
The housing shortage in the city does not interest him.
Again and again it was reported about it:
Cologne million real estate turn in case ghost house – nevertheless no auction by order of the court
Cologne ghost house Instead of auction for 1.6 million – now everything comes differently
The former butcher’s shop Kuske has been deserted for about ten years – only the owner of the house still lives in the building.
Residents in the Veedel puzzle business in prime Cologne location has been vacant for 10 years
In view of the more than 5,000 vacant apartments in Cologne, the only thing that comes to mind when Dr. Rau, the head of the social affairs department, talks about the EU’s demand to abolish homelessness by 2030 is that it cannot be achieved. When he is asked about the number of homeless people living on the streets, he always talks about 300 women and men. We think that it cannot be that the city of Cologne tolerates that homeless people vegetate on the street, die 30 years earlier than the national average, while 5000 apartments are empty. There is talk of misappropriation when an apartment stands empty for more than three months. On January 14, 2021, the Social Welfare Committee voted to place all homeless people in lockable single rooms. With 5000 vacant apartments, why has this not been implemented to date?

Minimum standards for housing the homeless
The Catholic Federal Working Group for Assistance to the Homeless had invited to a digital workshop on March 3, 2023: “Quality standards in the regulatory housing of homeless people”. This bureaucratic gobbledygook reflects the misery of the homeless, who are more or less mismanaged. Lukas Lehmann of Kieler Anker ( ) aptly commented, “The goal must be regular housing, not improving housing.” And he had pointed out how far the way is there. Because even if tomorrow conditions were legally prescribed for the emergency shelters that met all the wishes of the homeless – so much would have to change structurally in the houses where homeless people are currently housed, which in turn would probably cost a lot of time and money.
How bleak the situation is, Ronen Steinke had commented in the Süddeutsche on January 18, 2023: “There are not enough suitable overnight accommodations for homeless people in Germany. This is an empirical fact that is lamented by aid organizations up and down the country, foremost among them the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Wohnungslosenhilfe (Federal Association for Assistance to the Homeless). At least 37,400 people live entirely on the streets, according to the federal government’s own conservative estimate in its homeless report, which is only a month old.”
There was no mention at the workshop of vacancies and the occupation of vacant houses and apartments. Since there are more vacant apartments in major cities than homeless people living on the streets, seizing them is one possible way to put the homeless out of their misery as quickly as possible.
“In many municipalities, there is still a myth floating around that good and adequate housing for homeless people would ensure that more homeless people would show up in the community.”

The city of Cologne must also abandon this myth and implement the finite housing of all homeless people in lockable single rooms.

Claudia Engelmann: Designing emergency shelters for the homeless in accordance with human rights. German Institute for Human Rights
MAGS NRW: Recommendations on the design of regulatory housing for homeless people.
Report on results 2022. time for talks

He night camps

I hear that in New York
At the corner of 26th Street and Broadway
During the winter months a man stands every night
And provides a night’s lodging for the homeless who accumulate
By soliciting passers-by a night’s lodging.
The world does not change
Relations between people do not improve
The age of exploitation is not shortened by it
But some men have a night’s lodging
The wind is kept away from them for one night
The snow meant for them falls on the street.
Do not put down the book you who read this, man.
Some men have a night camp
The wind is kept away from them for one night
The snow meant for them falls on the road
But the world does not change
The relations between the people do not improve thereby
The age of exploitation is not shortened by it.

Bertolt Brecht (1931)

MIPIM – Theo world’s leading real estate market event
The European Action Coalition (EAC), which also launched Housing Action Days, is calling for protests against the MIPIM trade show:
Confront your local authorities and denounce their participation at MIPIM – the real estate fair in Cannes, France! From March 14 to 16, Cannes will host the largest real estate fair in the world. This year, the European Action Alliance for the Right to Housing and the City (EAC) is calling for decentralized actions to expose democratically elected authorities participating in the sellout of our cities at MIPIM.
“Representatives of banks, real estate agencies, insurance and construction companies, investment funds, architects? meet to celebrate their business. We denounce the participation of democratically elected municipal and regional representatives in this party and in the sellout of our cities and towns. This business behind closed doors must end, and that is why the EAC is launching the campaign “What are you doing at MIPIM?”
For Germany, three regions will be presented in the “German pavillion”.
Hannover City and Region, Leipzig City and the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region

To read

Nora Sellner: Everyday Coping Practices of Homeless People: Barbara Budrich Publishers.
The life situation of homeless people is characterized by a lack of resources, existential threats and social exclusion. Corresponding coping practices are in tension with socially produced norms and standards of normality.
First systematic study of the living conditions of homeless people

Broadcasts, reports, news
Interview with Dagmara Lutoslawska, psychologist in homeless assistance: “I have to use what is right now”.

City wants to build more apartments itself
In Mönchengladbach, investors are hardly building any more apartments because of high interest rates and the cost of materials. Now the city wants to take action – and also introduce a kind of quota for social housing.
Preservation instead of demolition
Municipal building policy must rethink
The demolition of buildings creates 230 million tons of rubble per year in Germany. Despite this, refurbishment is often dispensed with. Wrongly, says journalist Peter Pauls. Ultimately, he says, the only sustainable approach is to avoid building.
Comic about homelessness: Out of the social darkness
In “Shadows of Society,” comic artist Sebastian Lörscher gives an insight into the lives of Berlin’s homeless.!5917958&s=Christoph+Haas/
Natural gas: How municipal utilities finance the gas lobby
Timber mafia – the great forest heist
Intact forests are important for climate protection. But intact forests are also being cut down in the name of climate protection – because the EU defines wood as a climate-neutral fuel. Our European hunger for wood energy is fueling a huge and criminal business around the world.
Vacancy despite housing shortage
The hotspot neighborhoods of Duisburg
Run-down junk real estate, rising migration figures, poor integration – Duisburg has too much of everything. On the shady side – SPIEGEL TV about people who miss their old home.
Politics exerts pressure Moldy and dilapidated – conditions of high-rise buildings in Cologne-Chorweiler are getting worse and worse.

11.03.2023, 11 o’clock, demonstration against vacancy, Neusser Str.39
17.03.2023, 13.00 to 15.30 o’clock, One year Ark at Bergischer Ring.
18.03.2023, 11 a.m., Rally against vacancies
23.03.2023, 3 p.m., Rally in front of the council, Theo Burauen Platz
25.03.2023, 11 a.m., Rally against vacancy, Friedrich-Engels-Str.7
25.03.2023 Housing Action Day
29.03.2023, 7pm, Housing and housing policy in Cologne. DGB House Cologne

21.04.2023. 13 – 15 Uhr Digital Workshop: Providing for people from other EU countries without social benefit entitlements in Germany. Registration via link

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
March 11, 2023
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe

Translated with DeepL

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