Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 138
Protest rally before the meeting of the Social Committee
Thursday, May 25, 2023, 3 p.m., Theo Burauen Square, City Hall.
One of the agenda items will deal with the SPD’s motion to protect families from homelessness, which was brought to the Council last Tuesday by the SPD, and which Elfi Scho justified in an impassioned speech, and which was referred to the Social Committee by the Council majority.
The SPD expects that the council majority will reject this motion, since it calls into question the entire homeless policy as it developed in the city of Cologne after Rolf Bietmann of the CDU and Ralph Sterck of the FDP, after the fall of the SPD chief Heugel, broke up the housing office and reorganized housing welfare according to neoliberal principles.
Protective housing assistance, which preserves families’ homes by confiscation even in the event of eviction and which, if eviction can no longer be prevented, provides them with a fully adequate replacement until the eviction date, was then gradually abolished.
Since then, entire large families have ended up in cheap urban hotels in two or three rooms, somewhere in the city where a flophouse is available.
Since then, the SSM and its social counseling service have had to go to the administrative court again and again to avert the worst excesses of Rhineland neoliberalism and Thatcherism.
The Winands case has now shown that even the administrative courts can no longer help. The city of Cologne itself – according to Mayor Reker “the city of hearts” – must return to social principles in order to protect families and children from the worst excesses of the housing shortage created by Henriette Reker and her housing speculators.
On the suggestions of Kienitz and Martin we may be strained, carry nevertheless straight these both from green and/or Christian conviction the most noble social resolutions before itself.
With a few hundred thousand for warm food and ambulatory medical care as they have now become fashionable on the streets of Cologne and are supposed to distract from the ever-growing homelessness, it will not be done, because even in the brutal and socially neglected Cologne, children still have certain rights that make it impossible for even the most
cold-blooded bailiff to simply put them out on the street with the police and the public order office.
Consequently, the council will not be able to avoid finally building apartments again, even if an open space has to be built on for this purpose and one or the other million has to be pinched from the new city center.
Cologne family can’t afford an apartment and lives in a hotel. How does that work?
report-K: SPD motion “Combat housing and homelessness – provide tailored housing for families in housing need” referred to committees
Elfi Scho-Antwerpes gave a committed speech for the 8,170 people who have lost their homes in Cologne. These people are mostly housed by the city of Cologne and homelessness is not the same as homelessness. The Social Democrat was outraged that the city administration of Cologne does not know how many children are affected by homelessness and called for families affected by homelessness to be better cared for. Among other things, they should be able to remain in their living environment if children are affected. She also called for seizure of housing, among other things.
Rudolph Floris, Greens, shot down the SPD motion and demanded that it be referred to the specialist committees for social affairs and housing. He justified this with the fact that the SPD demands were already fulfilled, for example, by the case conference and that the assertions presented by the SPD did not correspond to the Cologne reality. But it was justified to deepen the topic in the specialized committees.
Martin Erkelenz, CDU, spoke about the barriers that people in Cologne had to succeed in the normal housing market, such as poverty, Schufa or because they were high-risk tenants. But Black-Green had already launched many projects in the last election period, such as Housing First. Erkelenz rejected the SPD’s demand for the confiscation of property. This came from a stuffy socialist drawer.
Jörg Detjen, Linke, explained that the city administration was already working on an overall strategy. He called it subterranean that the SPD motion divided people into “able to live” and “not able to live”. Homeless and homeless people should be treated equally, he said. Katja Hoyer, FDP, also sees the need for the issue of homelessness crying out for a solution. Like Detjen, she referred to the city administration, which is working on an overall strategy at the request of SPD, Linke and FDP, which should be available after the summer break of the Council. The FDP wants to wait for this basis. Karina Syndicus of Die Fraktion told how it happened to her as an artist and mother in Cologne looking for an apartment when she was given notice because of her own needs and what bureaucratic hurdles she faced.
Harald Rau, head of the department of social affairs, confirmed the work on the overall concept and how his authority already supports people who are affected by homelessness. 20 employees took care and could already help effectively in 300 cases per year. 100 places could be secured for families or single parents. Friendly seizures in agreement with the landlords were no problem. Hostile seizures, i.e. against the will of the landlords, were generally unsuccessful because they were settled in court and the city usually lost. And there are cases in which people simply won’t let themselves be helped, in which his authority is powerless. There was a family that destroyed the apartment and did not pay the rent and refused and ignored any contact with the city of Cologne. Here there are limits that have to be accepted.
Cologne Greens support the homeless with a future (OMZ)
Following motions by Marc Kersten and the Green Youth, the Cologne Greens unanimously decided at their district members meeting on May 15, 2023:
We Cologne Greens support the planned creation of a “Cologne concept against homelessness”, whereby human dignity must be the highest guideline. There is cross-party agreement that, above all, no new homelessness should therefore be created. This must also be avoided with the upcoming relocation of the project “Homeless with a Future (OMZ)” to Merheim. The current building in Gummersbacher Straße was always planned only as an interim solution – increasing structural deficiencies make it necessary to move out. In the run-up to this, a constructive dialog took place between the social administration, OMZ and its supporters. Now it is necessary to synchronize this in time and to ensure a barrier-free transition.
In this sense, we call on the city administration to ensure that…
– the city offers a seamless transition for the current residents of Gummersbacher Straße, without forcing them to use emergency sleeping facilities or similar accommodations in the meantime.
– in accordance with the council resolution of 29.6.2020, which was supported by the Greens, no one of the residents of Gummersbacher Straße is excluded from permanent accommodation on the basis of nationality and the legal norms derived from it.
– all residents of Gummersbacher Straße who are committed to non-violence and for whom there is no possibility of accommodation in the new OMZ location will also be seamlessly offered permanent accommodation.
– all measures are refrained from that could lead to a renewed escalation as in 2020.
We want the trustful process between administration and OMZ as well as its supporters to succeed now. For this, the period of use of Gummersbacher Straße may also have to be extended to ensure a seamless transition for all. After the social administration has organized a new, permanent location, we have full confidence that these last open questions will also be solved on the basis of the criteria mentioned above.
Together against Vonovia
On Saturday, May 20, we want to take to the streets together in Bochum against the big housing corporations! For this we are planning again a powerful, colorful demo. Read our demo call here:
In May, the Annual General Meeting of Vonovia SE will take place. Despite the crisis, Vonovia was able to increase its operating profit. They have benefited from the takeover of Deutsche Wohnen and higher rental income.
This is at the expense of the tenants*, who have to pay these above-average rent increases. They bear non-transparent operating costs, which are charged via Group subsidiaries. They are the ones who pay for modernization projects with high rent increases. At the same time, rents are rising, and not just at Vonovia, and affordable housing is becoming increasingly scarce.
Vonovia is not an isolated case, but a symptom: When housing becomes a commodity and only serves to increase returns, it is the people who suffer in the end. But housing is a human right and must not become the plaything of large corporations.
We want a city for ALL!
– No profits with the rent, because housing is a basic right.
– Relieve tenants
– Strengthening of non-profit landlords, cooperatives and investors and municipal housing construction
– Permanent social housing
– Prohibition of index rents and a nationwide effective rent cap
– Preventing terminations, utility freezes and evictions
– Creation of housing for the homeless
– More barrier-free housing
Come to the demo on 20.5! Bring your neighbors, acquaintances and friends!
Start: 14:00, Bochum in front of the main station
More information at: https://gemeinsam-gegen-vonovia.de/
The houses for those who live in them – The Tenement Syndicate
Self-organized living – solidarity-based management! The Tenement Houses Syndicate
advises self-organized house projects that are interested in the syndicate model,
participates in projects so that they are removed from the real estate market,
helps with know-how in project financing, initiates new projects.
Up-to-date information here on the Website and to the Nachlesen in the current brochure
Using the example of the city of Karlsruhe, Florian Kaufmann reports on the difficulties of finding plots of land and houses for community housing projects: https://www.kontextwochenzeitung.de/wirtschaft/632/der-weisse-fleck-auf-der-karte-8857.html
Broadcasts, News, News
Frankfurt am Main: Homeless people are evicted from their homes. City does not care about whereabouts. A conversation with Eyup Yilmaz
Overcoming homelessness with Housing First
There is no place for us
Our author grew up on the streets, Berlin’s Hermannplatz was his living room. He has made the jump. The fact that he is still alive at all seems like a coincidence to him.
Housing madness Mold, vermin, burst pipes
In Germany, there are many tenants who live in inhumane conditions – and landlords who make a lot of money from it. Three places, three abysses. https://www.spiegel.de/panorama/gesellschaft/wohnen-in-deutschland-schimmel-ungeziefer-rohrbrueche-ein-film-von-spiegel-tv-a-2c1a4992-ad47-4aef-9be2-ba26f7aaa769
Building permits for apartments collapse as sharply as last in 2007
One fifth of Germans at risk of poverty
Heating law disadvantages and overburdens tenants
20.05.2023, 14 o’clock, Together against Vonovia, Bochum main station
25.05.2023, 3 p.m. Protest rally in front of the Committee for Social Affairs, Senior Citizens, Theo-Burauen-Platz, City Hall
25.05.2023, 20.04 – 21 Uhr, WDR 5 Stadtgespräch: Green spaces or housing? Who decides about the last free spaces in the city? Stollwerck community center. https://www1.wdr.de/radio/wdr5/sendungen/stadtgespraech/wohnungsbau-stadt-100.html
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
May 20, 2023
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe
Call for donations
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Intended purpose: Aktionsbündnis
Translated with DeepL