Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 139
Wednesday, May 31, 2023 OMZ Open Day.
We live in a city where it is possible to spend a billion euros on the renovation of the theater and opera house, while social inequality increases and the poor become more and more and poorer. We live in a city where the police have counted 50 so-called drug-related deaths every year for 20 years. We live in a city that has been calling for a third women’s shelter for 17 years. The two women’s shelters had to turn away 600 requests from women seeking protection last year. We live in a city where the life expectancy of the homeless, as in the whole of the Federal Republic, is 30 years lower than that of the population as a whole. Despite this, Prof. Dr. Rau, the head of the Department of Social Affairs, claims time and again that assistance for the homeless is “well positioned” in Cologne. It is supported by carriers, who live from the administration of the misery.
In yesterday’s meeting of the social committee the council members failed. They did not demand an account from Dr. Rau, why it did not come to giving the homeless with future the promised and necessary place of a social worker, why it did not come to the promised meeting room, why there was no hall for own enterprises. Instead, they allowed Dr. Rau to get away with his description of violence in Gummersbacher Strasse, with his concept of using an application process and so-called intermediate housing to reassemble the residents of the new house in Wintergeber Strasse. As we know through the women’s shelters, there is brutal violence against women across all classes in our society. The women’s movement has found answers to this. The law of the strongest, the code of the street to which the homeless were and are subjected, is nothing more than a reaction to the lack of living wage jobs, to rampant drug use, to alienation and lack of hope. Therefore, it is not the violence on Gummersbacher Street that is surprising, but that Dr. Rau disregarded their cries for help. The members of the social committee should be informed about the violence in the Winterhilfe in Ostmerheimer Straße and in the emergency shelter in Vorgebirgsstraße. There are after all social workers and additionally a multiple of security personnel. Then they could know that the reports of violence in Gummersbacher Straße by Dr. Rau is only a pretext to finally get rid of the troublesome OMZ – with the help of SKM and BauenWohnenArbeiten.
We resist the eviction of the OMZ on May 31, 2023.
Andre Salentein thanked for the solidarity addresses, but he was missing something:
“It might have been possible to put down what we have achieved:
Who we have brought into apartments, as well as strangers with strong addiction problems we have accommodated elsewhere.
In addition, I would like to say that a lesbian couple, which was raped, where they sought shelter in Cologne where I found them at the train station, who now have a new perspective, with my and the supporters and also the SKF. We have also helped many others. A good example was where we bought the Polish people their identity cards where Christa and Christiane Aiki etc. had made a big effort when they finally got their cards, it was a big encouragement for some people.
Many thanks to all of you for this beautiful time with you and a common togetherness.
Even if it was difficult at times, we have managed it well until today.
Homeless people need a future!
We, the undersigned, stand up for a basic right to dignified living. Therefore, we support the plans of OMZ e.V. to ensure a seamless transition from the interim domicile in Gummersbacher Straße to Winterberger Straße for a large part of the residents of the self-managed project Homeless with a Future (OMZ). We appeal to the City of Cologne to make an offer of permanent, dignified housing to all residents credibly committed to non-violence, regardless of their citizenship, and to refrain from any steps that may lead to the emergence of homelessness. In particular, we urge the City of Cologne to refrain from a forcible eviction of Gummersbacher Straße, which is currently threatened for the end of May. Such a step jeopardizes the negotiations for an amicable solution, calls into question the liberal image of our city and threatens to escalate the situation unnecessarily.
We say: talk instead of clear!
Andreas Hupke (District Mayor Cologne-Innenstadt), Diana Siebert (District Mayor Cologne-Nippes), Gemeinsam für die Platte, Straßenwächter e.V., Street Angels Cologne, Petra Höh (Care4Cologne), Omas gegen Rechts Köln, Mach mit e.V., SSM e.V., Aktionsbündnis gegen Wohnungsnot und Stadtzerstörung, SSK, Working Punx, Ralf Böddingmeier (OASE Board).
Rainer Kippe on the future of OMZ
Three years ago in the summer of 20, in the middle of the beginning Corona epidemic and during the first lock-downs, a courageous young man, André Salentin, virtually single-handedly occupied a vacant office building on the grounds of the Cologne wholesale market. With him, homeless foreigners from the EU partner countries Poland and Romania moved in, mainly from the municipal shelter for foreigners in Vorgebirgsstraße.
There, the accommodation was significantly worse than in the municipal shelters, because these homeless people allegedly have no “social claims”, as it is called in bureaucratic German.
These immigrants from our neighboring countries are increasingly disturbing the shopping miles of the rich German city centers and interfering with the undisturbed shopping experience.
Among them are many drug and mentally ill people who are denied medically indicated help, and increasingly also drug dealers and other petty criminals.
The EU had been aware of this group for some time and had logically and accurately described their appearance as a “consequence of EU enlargement” and launched an assistance program back in 2018.
Supported by EU funds, employees of the Public Order Office were to approach these people in need of help and refer them to special care centers, where they would be advised by the expert municipal staff and referred to the Employment Office, Social Welfare Office, Consulate, etc.
This obviously did not happen, and after the EU program expired, the city of Cologne continued the program with municipal funds, but now with the aim of driving out these poor, sick foreigners, some of whom were also criminals because of their destitution.
These people and their hardships now determined life on Marktstrasse.
Volunteers who took care of the foreigners, who were completely helpless in the face of the Cologne bureaucracy, encountered insurmountable hurdles: the Poles, for example, no longer had any identification papers, because the people seeking protection in the shelters, which were all run by well-paid professionals, were all without identification papers; these were usually stolen from them on the first night by professional gangs of thieves who had taken up residence in the shelters.
The rest of the story is well known: the Cologne bureaucracy, led by the then head of the real estate department and today’s head of the public order department and city director Blome, decided to evict the building, allegedly because of fire danger and “black mold”, the squatters resisted and because it was election time the mayor had to call off the eviction.
Another building was decided by the council, in which the group should live in a self-managed community.
But because allegedly no suitable building was available and because allegedly the demolition of the occupied building could not be postponed (the area will remain empty for many years), the people had to move by necessity into a completely rotten and moldy building of the housing utilities of the city of Cologne, which was scheduled for demolition – of course “only temporarily…”, as it is said with all municipal “temporary solutions”.
The building is divided into endless corridors in which the rooms are lined up. Central, large rooms, suitable for meetings of up to 60 people under corona conditions, are completely absent.
Of course, the creation of such rooms – by tents, if necessary – was promised by the head of the housing office Ludwig and, of course, never delivered, and of course, the transition of “at most 6 months turned into two years – clear for everyone who has observed the activity of the Cologne “Fachverwaltung” for more than a year.
Just as “forgotten” were rooms for own economic activities, which were supposed to provide employment and income for the help and homeless people.
As a result, the community deteriorated, gangs formed, and violence increased.
These deficiencies were meticulously listed by the OMZ board of directors when they moved into Gummersbacher Strasse in a meeting with the head of the housing office, Josef Ludwig, and remedial action was promised.
The need for a social worker was also put on record, to which the city was obligated anyway after the above-mentioned resolutions to the unemployed and needy EU foreigners….
However at the beginning of 2021 in large circle under line of the chief of the Cologne social office, Mrs. Dr. Robinson under Beiziehung of all specialized authorities such as foreigner office, social security, JobCenter, employment office etc. one tried to solve the legal problems of this group of the homeless European Union foreigners and to integrate these into the German assistance system, this attempt was stopped however without result…..
Decisive seems to me with the resettlement planned now that only homeless with “assistance claims” mitdürfen, that thus the past main group, the homeless EU foreigners, are excluded.
So to the previous state of affairs no improvement is achieved, the continuation of the EU program and negotiations with the EU are not even considered.
From this point of view, the explanations that there are too many criminals (EU foreigners) in Gummersbacher Straße seem cynical to me.
What are drug addicts, alcoholics and mentally ill people supposed to live on if they don’t get any help or treatment?
Instead of talking about criminality of EU-foreigners at OMZ in Gummersbacher Straße, the city should set its EU-members and its state and federal parliament members in motion, so that this problem, which , as city and EU agree, is a PROBLEM OF EU-ENLARGEMENT, is finally tackled together with the EU.
Until then one should support PRIVATE INITIATIVES from the Cologne citizenry and not put any sticks in their way.
With kind regards
Rainer Kippe, SSM
Future Conference National Action Plan Homelessness |
19-20 June at TUECHTIG in Berlin
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen
the Steering Committee NAP Homelessness was constituted on March 29. As a next step, the Federal Government is preparing the joint development of a National Action Plan against Homelessness in a participatory process until autumn 2023.
The kick-off and working event for this process is the Future Conference NAP Homelessness, at which initial guidelines and framework conditions are to be developed together with representatives of the federal ministries and the minister of the federal states, the municipal umbrella organizations and civil society.
We would therefore like to ask you to make a note of the following date for the Future Conference National Action Plan:
June 19-20, 2023 in Berlin. The venue is TUECHTIG in the listed industrial buildings of the former Osram-Höfe. TUECHTIG, Oudenarder Str. 16, House D06, 13347 Berlin.
Together with you, we would like to identify goals, values and guidelines in a structured process (based on the Future Search Method) at the two-day Future Conference, which will form the basis for the NAP Homelessness. You are welcome to submit feedback for a participating person in advance to: firstname.lastname@example.org, to which the full invitation will then be addressed.
We are very anxious to make it possible for all invited persons to participate. If the cost of the trip is an obstacle, please contact us to discuss the possibility of the BMWSB covering the costs.
With best regards
On behalf of
Homelessness, National Action Plan, Federal Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Construction, Krausenstr. 17-18, 10117 Berlin
Bundestag: To prevent homelessness
Berlin: (hib/HAU) The federal government says it is making “an active contribution to preventing homelessness” with extensive relief packages and preventive services such as the Housing Benefit Plus and the Citizen’s Allowance. In addition, the federal government will provide the states with financial assistance for social housing construction in the record amount of 14.5 billion euros between 2022 and 2026, according to the government’s response (20/5681) https://dserver.bundestag.de/btd/20/056/2005681.pdf to a small question from the Die Linke parliamentary group (20/5204) https://dserver.bundestag.de/btd/20/052/2005204.pdf .
BAG homeless assistance: Thanks to Kvia Pol for this important and in Germany so far unique study on police violence. The BAG W was allowed to participate in the conception. We are looking forward to the further discussion.
The study is available as an e-book free of charge here: bit.ly/3MfGexK
Violence in office
Excessive police use of force and its reappraisal
By Laila Abdul-Rahman, Hannah Espin Grau, Luise Klaus, Tobias Singelnstein.
Excessive use of force by police officers in Germany has so far only been studied in rudimentary form. This book provides comprehensive scientific findings on relevant situations and how they are dealt with under criminal law. Based on a survey with more than 3,300 participants and over 60 qualitative interviews, the cases present themselves as complex events of interaction, in the processing of which a special power of definition of the police becomes visible.
Berliner Hefte zu Geschichte und Gegenwart der Stadt: Publishing as Urban Practice
MieterEcho No.432, May 2023
To listen and to watch
Julia Hörath: “Asocials” and “Professional Criminals” in the Concentration Camps 1933-1938 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG0HxK5p8B0
Broadcasts, News Releases
GAG real estate increases rents by 14 cents on average in 2022
On the history of large housing estates
Protest action in Cologne – eviction threatens: Affected people march in front of Veedels town hall
One fifth of all people in Germany are threatened by poverty. At least. But even those affected, who are the loudest, are hardly heard.
No one wants poverty, everyone claims, yet here class society is being cemented ever more inexorably in all our institutions.
From citizen to “customer
The organization of administrations is a reflection of social power relations.
Homeless. News from Theory and Practice on Poverty and Homelessness 1/2023
Property committee: Will the city buy the state properties in Riehl?
Vonovia in crisis: demands for socialization grow louder
67 people ransomed from prison
Max Uthoff -Feindbild Hartz IV
US world city becomes homeless hell – with absurd consequences
27.05.2023, 9 o’clock day of the open door Gummersbacher Str.25
02.-04.2023, Right to the City Form 2023, Oberhausen http://rechtaufstadt-forum.de/
04.06.2023, 12 o’clock, award of the 5th alternative honorary citizenship to Linda Rennings and Gerhard Baum, Gürzenich
06/13/2023, 7:30 pm, Thomas Galli: How much prison does the country need? Karl Rahner Academy
15.06.2023, 2 p.m. Council
06/18/2023, 2:30 p.m., Edelweiss Pirate Festival, Peace Park
06/26/2023, 7:30pm, 125 years of non-profit housing in Cologne on the right bank of the Rhine.
Dom Forum. https://denkmaldienste.de/rvdlkoeln/2023/05/22/wohnungsbau-rrhkoeln/
28.06.2023, 18:30 Uhr, Challenge: Finding housing in Cologne. Refugee Center Fliehkraft, Turmstr.3-5, Cologne-Nippes.
17.08.2023, 15:30 Social Committee.
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 27, 2023
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe
Call for donations
To further improve our public relations we need money:
Donation account MachMit! e.V. IBAN: DE53370501981011342704
Intended purpose: Aktionsbündnis
Translated with DeepL