Newsletter No 148 of 29 July 2023

Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 148

Protest rally against the rent increases of the GAG
on August 18, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. in front of the meeting of the GAG supervisory board
Straße des 17.Juni 4 – GAG headquarters in Kalk
In a smart commentary in the August issue of StadtRevue, Christian Werthschulte calls on Cologne politicians to think about the best way for GAG to fulfill its mission of providing housing on “socially appropriate terms.” For the first time in the whole debate, it is being considered whether GAG needs to be remunicipalized. In any case, the city needs a housing company that is 100% committed to the common good and builds only social housing. Half of all residents of Cologne are entitled to a Wohnberechtigungsschein (WBS) for social housing. But every year, more low-cost housing falls out of the bond. The city now has only 38,000 social housing units.
On July 28, 2023, the Kölnische Rundschau discussed the housing shortage on two full pages with department heads Markus Greitemann (Construction), Andree Haack (Urban Development and Economy) and Harald Rau (Social Affairs).
Right at the beginning of the interview, Andree Haack weighs in: “It’s always important for me to emphasize that it’s not a Cologne phenomenon, but a nationwide one.”
But it’s the differences that matter. In 2022, 9,234 new apartments were completed in Hamburg.
On January 23, 2023, Matthias Hendorf reported in the Stadt-Anzeiger how the Cooperative Building Land Model works, according to which 30% of all new apartments above a certain size must be publicly subsidized: By the end of 2021, not a single apartment in Cologne had been completed through the model, in part because of loopholes to exempt themselves from the quota.

And in Hamburg, 100 years of rent control for social housing has been adopted.
Instead of breaking away from the profit-oriented investors and taking the overcoming of the housing shortage into their own hands, in Cologne the profiteers of the housing shortage are to continue to be fed with tax money.
Greitemann: That is a point on which we are very much in agreement. We have to discuss with the housing industry that more publicly subsidized housing should be built. The subsidy conditions are great and we are happy to support the framework conditions so that the subsidy also takes effect.
Rau: Subsidized housing construction will become more attractive as a result of the improved subsidies and framework conditions. That’s what the state’s subsidy program is aimed at. This may also make commercial and yield-oriented investors rethink their business model.
The homeless are not mentioned in the whole discussion. Social Affairs Director Rau has the final word: “It is important to me above all that everyone in Cologne who wants to live here can afford an apartment. If Cologne has to grow to achieve this, my answer is yes.
Dr. Rau and his social administration do not at all want to take all homeless people off the streets and put them in lockable single rooms, because they are afraid that other homeless people from other cities and countries will then come to Cologne.

More news on the housing emergency
Rents in ColognePrices continue to rise, housing construction stalls – politician speaks of “social catastrophe
Rise in rents in Germany’s major cities accelerates
Housing crisis without end
Higher rents with fewer and fewer apartments: According to studies, the housing market will not ease for the time being until 2025

Finally abolish homelessness

Neglected people in the city
The misery of the homeless is increasing
Significantly more homeless people. Social Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia publishes statistics In order to abolish this street homelessness, according to Hubert Ostendorf of the Düsseldorf street magazine fifty fifty, “comprehensive Housing First offers are needed.” This refers to regular apartments with care for the homeless people who live there.
As a reminder
Luisa Schneider Expert colloquium on the sustainable fight against homelessness
Federal budget 2024 Sozial-Kahlschlag for Cologne? Caritas sounds the alarm
The Paritätische Gesamtverband (German Parity Association) is sharply critical of the 2024 federal budget passed today. The association is calling on the Bundestag not to approve this draft, but to rework it significantly.
DPWV Managing Director Ulrich Schneider explains: “The 2024 federal budget approved by the cabinet today in no way does justice to the immense social challenges facing this society. We have record poverty in Germany. People on Hartz IV and basic old-age security no longer know their way in or out in the face of the exploding cost of living, the entire care system is on the verge of collapse, affordable housing is lacking by the hundreds of thousands, and none of this finds a real answer in this budget. The fetish of the black zero and the tabooing of any additional tax burden on the wealthy ultimately make this government incapable of acting. All in all, it is a budget that does less to solve social problems than to contribute to further social division in Germany. The German Bundestag is now called upon not to approve this budget, but to make very clear improvements.”

Memorial day for deceased drug users on 21 July 2023 in Cologne
Federal Drug Commissioner Blienert: “Memorial Day is a wake-up call for more solidarity, prevention and help for people suffering from addiction!”
“Drug death is state failure”
The current issue of DROGENKURIER deals with the highest number of so-called “drug deaths” i.e. drug users* who died as a result of overdoses, infectious diseases in 2022.
Heumarkt: Aidshilfe Cologne draws attention to deceased drug users

To read

Broadcasts, reports, news
Vonovia deceives Berlin tenants
Gaebler in the alliance trap
With the housing alliance, the SPD wanted to show that private can be “fair” even without socialization. Now it turns out: it’s all a lie.!5948801/
My life on the street!5931604/
GAG launches pilot project in Stammheim residential district
Hamburg: Apartment first!
Homelessness cannot be solved with expulsions. To overcome life problems, people need peace and quiet. A project in Hamburg gives hope!5946235&s=sonja%2Bnorgall&SuchRahmen=Print/
Neukölln wants to save houses from sale: pre-emptive right reloaded
The district has found a way to revive the right of first refusal. Two buildings in need of redevelopment are to be protected.!5946358&s=rent/
Seven years on the street: ex-homeless man discovers painting

09.08.2023, 12 – 16 o’clock, OASE summer party, Alfred Schütte avenue 4
10.08.2023, 6 p.m. Exhibition opening 75 years of human rights,, University and City Library
08/15/2023, 7pm, The City and its Homeless. House of Architecture. Josef Haubrich Courtyard 2
08/17/2023, 3:30 p.m. Social Committee.
08/18/2023, 8:30 a.m., Rally and demo “We carry GAG’s social responsibility to the grave” on the occasion of the GAG Annual General Meeting, Straße des 17. Juni 4.
07.09.2023, 15:30 Council of the City of Cologne
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
July 29, 2023
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe

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Translated with DeepL

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