Newsletter No 143 of 24 June 2023

Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 143

Homeless with a Future (OMZ)

Full of confidence and trust in the city administration, Hans Mörtter wrote three years ago on June 29, 2020:

“I’m really happy. Our OB Henriette Reker was on site today and talked to the people, showing a super attitude that had an effect. Martin Stankowski told me about it, that there had never been a OB visit in the long history of squats in Cologne, hats off to Henriette Reker!!! I had two SMS from her today, we are together and there will be a good solution. There I trust her and likewise the city council, which will meet Monday in addition in a “current hour” on request of the SPD. All faction leaders (AfD excluded) Martin and I have written a letter today with the request to provide a municipal house for self-managed housing, which is possible. The Greens, the Left, the SPD are so far, also today at the plenum in the market street. Marion Heuser from the beginning as well as Mr. Kockerbeck from Die Linke. It was good that OB candidate Andreas Kossiski was still there Wednesday afternoon, listened and confessed that he had learned.
Super Rainer Kippe of the SSM, which has put insanely in the stuff, a good alliance with each other. I am also grateful to Harald Rau, head of the social department. His social workers are incredibly committed and see the prospects.
I am counting on the CDU in the council to join in.
A solution is the best birthday present for me.
The photo (attached) is the community room on Marktstraße, like no other homeless shelter.”

The eviction of the OMZ’s last shelter in Gummersbacher Straße was justified by the city administration with the failure of self-management. Against this one-sided apportionment of blame, the plenary assembly of the Sozialistische Selbsthilfe Mülheim (SSM) decided to publish a documentation of the history of the OMZ. Enclosed is a pre-publication of the chronology written by Rainer Kippe, whose individual parts are supported by more than 20 official documents.

Violence against homeless people
Violence against homeless and socially excluded people is an everyday phenomenon in our society.
Violence against homeless people ranges from insults and coercion, to theft and robbery, to assault, manslaughter and murder. Evicting homeless people from public spaces or denying them the use of public infrastructure are also forms of violence.
The violence comes from perpetrators from different strata of society, including perpetrators who are themselves homeless. Right-wing extremist violence against homeless people is also an ongoing phenomenon.

Currently, there are reports of the trial of a 62-year-old man who shot at homeless people at the main train station with a shooting pen, injuring two men. He is said to have been unable to control himself. That may be so. But who was steering him? On the basis of what information did he feel called to go out and shoot at homeless people? There is nothing about this in the Cologne newspapers. The same phenomenon was seen last week when it was reported how a 15-year-old stabbed a homeless man.
Can it be that for certain people homeless people are outlawed because they are abandoned by the state, the city and society, perishing on the streets for everyone to see?

70th German Tenants’ Day:
Central demands on housing and rent policy resolved
Change of course for a fair, public welfare-oriented and climate-friendly housing and rent policy

Around 400 delegates at the German Tenants’ Day – the general meeting of the German Tenants’ Association (DMB) – last week adopted key resolutions for better tenant:interior protection and for a fair housing policy that is oriented toward the common good and climate justice. The resolutions represent the guidelines for the political work of the German Tenants’ Association for the next two years.
The delegates at the German Tenants’ Conference formulated the need for a fundamental change of course in the federal government’s rent and housing policy: “The housing crisis in Germany is continuing and coming to a head. Not only in almost all large cities, the university cities and in the meantime also in many middle cities the housing cost load for households with low and middle incomes took unacceptable extents. For many, housing has become a poverty risk, in part because of the drastic increase in heating and hot water costs. Those who are looking for an apartment, have to move or want to move are in a particularly bad position. Affordable dwellings are almost not at all available”, it says in the leading application of the German tenant day, and further: “The energy crisis and the price rise for the fossil fuels accompanying with it affect nearly ninety per cent of the housing existence and thus nearly all Mieter:innen. The bad energy condition of the building existence, which can be deplored in many places, and the fact that renewable energies played so far a subordinate role with the heat supply of the dwelling, make themselves now noticeable. Expert:innen count on annual additional costs of two to three monthly cold rents only for heating and warm water.”
On the German tenant day the delegates demanded therefore with large majority:
A special fund of 50 billion euros for social and non-profit housing construction.

The reintroduction of a New Housing Community Benefit.
A land policy oriented toward the common good.
Reforms of tenancy law, especially rent law.
Socially responsible energy-efficient refurbishment of existing buildings.
At the general meeting, the delegates clearly formulated their expectations of the federal legislature: “The federal government must act now instead of continuing to waste time. The consequences of the failed housing policy of at least the last decade can no longer be concealed,” and further: “We therefore call on the federal government to finally take a comprehensive package of measures. Because in order to protect people from losing their homes and to provide them with urgently needed living space, reforms in tenancy law and measures for the systematic prevention of housing losses are urgently needed in addition to the creation of affordable housing. To protect residents from high energy costs, the course must finally be set for a social turnaround in the heating of existing buildings. Housing is a human right and not a speculative good.”

Frankfurter Rundschau on June 15, 2023:
Plan for affordable housing

Press release I 16.06.2023 from the German Institute for Human Rights.
National Action Plan on Homelessness:
Involve those affected, adopt ambitious measures
Berlin. On the occasion of the Future Conference initiated by the Federal Ministry of Building on June 19-20, the German Institute for Human Rights calls on the Federal Government to present an ambitious National Action Plan on Homelessness and to comprehensively involve homeless people.
“The number of homeless people in Germany is high and those affected are massively restricted in their rights – such as the right to housing, to health or to protection from violence: they live on the street or in emergency shelters, they are pushed out of public spaces, do not receive adequate health care and have little chance of finding housing again. Therefore, a joint effort by the federal government, the states and the municipalities is needed to fundamentally change this situation,” explains Claudia Engelmann, Deputy Head of the Institute’s Domestic/European Human Rights Policy Department, on the occasion of the publication of the position paper “Overcoming Homelessness and Homelessness by 2030. Recommendations for a National Action Plan Aligned with Human Rights”.

It is very welcome that the German government is taking up its plan from the coalition agreement to overcome homelessness and homelessness by 2030, Engelmann said. “The planned National Action Plan must be aligned with Germany’s human rights obligations.” The success of the NAP depends largely on the actors involved, processes and the targeting of measures, the institute’s position paper emphasizes.
“We need an ambitious National Action Plan in which the federal government, states and municipalities participate. Ambitious means that sufficient financial resources must be available to implement the measures. A National Action Plan aligned with human rights also means: homeless people must be involved as experts in their own right – in all steps, from the steering committee, to the creation of the action plan, to its evaluation,” says Engelmann.
The Institute recommends bringing forward the expansion of tenant protection agreed in the coalition agreement. “The Federal Ministry of Justice has not yet presented a draft law. It should move forward quickly here, because this project cannot wait until the National Action Plan is adopted at the end of 2023,” says Engelmann. He also said that the agreed federal-state working group on homeless EU citizens has not yet been set up by the federal government. In view of the catastrophic living situation of these people, this is not compatible with Germany’s human rights obligations.
According to the Federal Government’s report on homelessness, as of January 2022, around 263,000 people in Germany were without a home, of whom around 178,000 lived in emergency shelters, 49,300 with friends or acquaintances and 37,400 on the streets.
The Future Conference initiated by the Federal Ministry of Building will take place on June 19-20. It will mark the start of work on the National Action Plan agreed in the coalition agreement. Representatives of the federal ministries, the ministries of the federal states, the leading municipal associations and civil society are involved in the conference. The action plan is to be adopted at the end of 2023.
German Institute for Human Rights (2023): Overcoming Homelessness and Homelessness by 2030. Recommendations for a National Action Plan aligned with human rights. (Position paper).

Engelmann, Claudia (2022): Designing emergency shelters for homeless people in conformity with human rights. Guidelines for minimum standards in regulatory housing. Berlin: German Institute for Human Rights.
Topic page: right to housing:

For example, Duisburg
The project, financed by EU funds with a small contribution from the city, was launched in Duisburg last June. In the meantime, 49 people, including 17 children, who previously lived in shared housing, have been placed in their own rental apartments. A further 22 project participants have found their own apartments with the support of the caretakers.

To read

Dietrich Schwarz / Anselm Weidner The Social Situation of the Homeless On the social reproduction of deviant behavior through legal and social norms. 1970
Andrej Holm (ed.) Housing between market, state and society A social science handbook. 2021
Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs: Extent and Structure of Homelessness. The Homelessness Report 2022 of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Berlin 2022

Broadcasts, Messages, News

Living where desks used to be
Favorable rents
Geywitz wants to enforce municipal right of first refusal for residential buildings at all costs
Construction Minister Geywitz believes it is right for municipalities to secure affordable housing through a right of first refusal. But because this is no longer possible since a court ruling in 2021, a new law is now needed.

Raid – The Benko Trick
Real estate speculator’s sales offensive gives investors a stomachache. Berlin Senate shown up with Galeria deal
Housing construction at Laurenz Carré must be advanced at all costs: No caving in to the Gerch Group!
Green Party demand paper Justice ministers want to make housing a basic right
Green Party members of the Bundestag and justice ministers from the federal states call for fundamental reforms in tenancy law.

USA: Housing as a human right: Democrats want to invest 300 billion dollars
Austria: Right to housing for all: petition handed over to the federal states
Redeem the human right to housing!
Moving towards a social housing policy – Eliminate homelessness by 2030! Preserve affordable housing in the stock and create new Position of the German Caritas Association e.V. and the Catholic Federal Working Group for Assistance to the Homeless

26.06.2023, 7:30 p.m., 125 years of non-profit housing in Cologne on the right bank of the Rhine.
Dom Forum.
28.06.2023, 18:30, Challenge: Finding housing in Cologne. Refugee Center Fliehkraft, Turmstr.3-5, Cologne-Nippes.
July 1, 2023. from 4 p.m. at SSM, Düsseldorfer Str.74, 51063 Cologne.
17.08.2023, 15:30 Social Committee
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
June 24, 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

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