Newsletter No 142 of 17 June 2023

Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 142

OMZ – Marc Kersten on the ongoing lack of clarity.
Two weeks after the forced eviction of OMZ, I was with a group of former residents of the self-managed homeless project at 304 Escher Street today to audition for temporary housing. Since May 31, they have been scattered to the winds.
Some had occupied a new house the day after the eviction, but this was immediately stopped by the police. Some then moved to the Friedenspark, but were chased away there the next day by the public order office. The administration did not want to tolerate them at their alternative location at Ulrepforte either. After that, they went first to the Luther Church, then to the Volksgarten and finally to their current location.
A few others are housed at a campsite, a few have been given apartments by the city. One OMZer is camping alone. The woman previously designated as a victim of forced prostitution to be protected has completely disappeared, which is probably not due to an executed protective action. In other words, these people, made homeless by the city of Cologne’s eviction, have since been pushed back and forth. They camp partly inhumane in musty tents with 40 degrees inside temperature. And they all long for a place to live.
At the same time, an attempted murder of a homeless man was reported at Wiener Platz over the weekend. The victim is seriously injured, the suspected youth is in custody. It is unbelievable the extent to which hatred of minorities is taking hold.
Against this background, the argumentation of people in the Cologne social department seems absolutely cynical, who present a life on the street as safer than in the OMZ. I am ashamed that my city promotes such an abstruse view that is already caught up in reality.
At this point, I also feel strong alienation from acting politicians who also belong to my party. And who tacitly tolerate this head-in-the-wall policy. It is simply a disgrace for Cologne.
Comment: And in the Winterberger Straße a house with apartments and lockable rooms stands empty – vacancy, which stands for a social department, which lacks decency.

Existence of the SSM registered association endangered

The SSM e.V. (“Sozialistische Selbsthilfe Mülheim”) has successfully operated autonomous welfare services in Cologne for more than 40 years. Hundreds of people who previously lived on the street and on social benefits have gotten back on their feet in the last 30 years through the self-determined work at SSM e.V., and many live and work with social insurance (!) at SSM to this day. Through the social work of the SSM, the city of Cologne saves almost 400,000 euros in social costs every year.

On June 30, the SSM’s 30-year lease with the City of Cologne ends without the possibility of renewal. Although MachMit! e.V., the supporting association of the SSM, has been trying since 2018 to conclude a heritable building right contract with the city of Cologne after the lease agreement, talks with the property administration have so far been without result. A heritable building right contract has not yet been concluded. Despite discussions with all democratic parliamentary groups in the Council, in which the SSM e.V. was shown recognition and understanding, they did not take any application initiative towards the administration for a ground lease.
Therefore, the SSM now invites to a solidarity party on 01 July. See attachments
Source: the current newsletter of Cologne can also be different

On the history of homelessness research
Nels Anderson
The Hobo. The Sociology of the Homeless Man. University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1923
The current issue 1 and 2, 2023 of sub\urban, the journal of critical urban research, is about the relationship between the city and labor.

More to read

German Association of Cities. Annual Report 2023
07/14/2022 “Housing is a basic need for all people”.
Verena Göppert, Deputy Chief Executive of the German Association of Cities: “First homeless statistics are important step”. Homeless people who sleep on the street, in building entrances or under bridges are not yet counted. Also missing from the statistics are the ‘hidden homeless’.
02.03.2022 President of the Association of Cities Markus Lewe on the start of the 2022 national conference of the BAG Wohnungslosenhilfe (BAG W), the umbrella organization for homeless assistance in Germany
The Federal Government must quickly present its planned National Action Plan. In it, it must provide for effective measures to combat homelessness more strongly and fundamentally improve the situation on the housing market.”

01.08.2019 On the Homeless Reporting Act.
The German Association of Cities regrets that, according to the draft law, the official statistics will not include those persons who are homeless or threatened with homelessness but who do not make use of places in facilities for the homeless. People who live on the street without any shelter or even people who have found shelter with friends or relatives will thus not be covered by the planned homeless statistics.
Myth of public space: How public does the city of the future still need to be?
The relocation of humanity: The transformative power of cities
The force of the current urbanization dynamic and its impact are such that cities, urban societies, governments and international organizations worldwide must confront this trend.

For example, Mönchengladbach

More “small homes” set up for the homeless
These are insulated wooden huts, with a door and a tilting window, a real bed with a thick mattress and the possibility to lock up their own few belongings. The first two houses were built in the workshops of the Schaffrath furniture store, with master carpenters and apprentices lending a hand. The Schaffrath Stiftung für Soziales and the Suppentanten around Iris van Montfort-Eickhoff are financing one of each of the two houses, which cost 2700 to 3200 euros each. Further houses at different locations are to follow, in order to accommodate as many homeless people as possible who want it. In the future it is to be prefabricated housing containers from metal (3500 to 3700 euro each), particularly because of the fire protection, explains Schaffrath. The businesswoman has already been able to win over other companies and private individuals who want to sponsor such accommodations. “We can get the containers very quickly. What we’re still waiting for now is the ‘go’ from the city on which municipal areas in the vicinity of the station this is possible.” They are in “intensive exchange,” confirms Lord Mayor Felix Heinrichs. “We are very happy that there are such people in our city who are committed, give strength and money for it.” Because this is also clear: Although the initiative comes from the foundation, it is a “municipal problem that needs to be solved,” says Schaffrath. “The tiny houses are one way to get this off the ground quickly.”

For example Leverkusen

The Church of Saint Thomas and the adjacent parish hall were built in 1962 and have since been listed as a historic monument. Since the roof sagged in January 2016, the church has no longer been used. It is now planned to completely gut the church and demolish the roof. There will be 3 new floors. In the process, the former altar area will be cut out so that a protected, almost circular inner courtyard is created here. The social living space that will be created here is intended to help homeless people under supervision to lead an independent life again.

Broadcasts, reports, news
Circumvention of the Mietpreisbremse: Initiative against loophole
Furnished apartments make it easy to circumvent the rent brake. Hamburg and Bremen want to take action against this with a Bundesrat initiative.!5941210/
Corneth remains chairman of Cologne tenants’ association
Youth allegedly stabbed homeless man in Cologne-Mülheim
Homeless man stabbed in Mülheim
Housing market as empty – terminations because of own need increase strongly

16./17.06.2023, Affordable housing is possible. Mertonstr.26, Frankfurt a.M.
18.06.2023, 14:30 o’clock, edelweiss pirate festival, peace park
26.06.2023, 19:30, 125 years of non-profit housing in Cologne on the right bank of the Rhine.
Dom Forum.
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
June 17, 2023
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe

Translated with DeepL

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