Newsletter No 149 of 05 August 2023

Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 149

All of Cologne wants a social GAG
Protest rally and demo against the antisocial rent increases
August 18, 2023, 8:30 a.m., in front of the GAG general meeting, Straße des 17. Juni 4.
No to the rent increase – Cologne-Stammheim initiative:
What needs to happen:
First, we want a suspension of rent increases for 24 months.
We expect GAG to use this time to enter into dialogue with tenants and to seek and find social solutions together.
With its highest shareholding, city politics must use its influence on GAG Immobilien AG in the interest of a responsible housing policy.
This also includes taking greater account of the condition of the apartments when increasing rents.
We propose to orient the rent to the lower limit of the rent index or to generally abolish the rent index as a control instrument of the housing market and to develop new models for the calculation.
The rent needs a cap. Also at GAG
“Blog on Building. Housing. Urban Development in Cologne”
Dr. Günter Bell, urban planner and social scientist, managing director of the parliamentary group DIE LINKE. in the Council of the City of Cologne, comments privately here:
What would be required:
– Rent needs a cap! That means: freezing rent for five years and basically not allowing rents that exceed 30 percent of disposable household income.
– To face up to the responsibility as the city of Cologne as the majority owner of GAG and to look for solutions with the Board of Management on how a social housing policy can be maintained even if conditions have become more difficult.
– To tackle the establishment of a purely municipal housing company or to extend the mandate of the housing company of the Cologne municipal utility. In any case, Cologne needs a housing company that operates permanently affordable housing in accordance with the city’s specifications.

Deplorable conditions in houses managed by the ZBVV in Chorweiler
Die Linke helps – strengthening disadvantaged neighborhoods
In some houses in Chorweiler and Seeberg terrible conditions prevail. Especially in the houses managed by Zentral Boden Vermietung und Verwaltung GmbH (ZBVV). Tenants complain about non-functioning heaters, defective elevators or mold. These conditions are inhumane. They must no longer be tolerated.
What are laws and regulations worth if they do not effectively protect tenants? With the Wohnraumstärkungsgesetz (Housing Strengthening Act), the city of Cologne should be able to intervene against problem properties and take more targeted action against the neglect of housing. Tenants in Chorweiler and Seeberg notice little of this.
And yet the following should apply: “Ownership obligates.” At least that’s what it says in the Basic Law.
We demand:
The city of Cologne must take consistent action against these abuses.
If the property managers do not fulfill their duties, the necessary work must be ordered by the city by way of substitute performance.
The tenants must be supported in exercising their rights.
The city council and its committees must take up the issue, stand behind the tenants and put public pressure on owners and property managers.

We will be campaigning for these demands
On Saturday, August 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at information booths in Osloer Straße, on Liverpooler Platz (in Chorweiler) and in Ludwig-Gies-Straße (in Seeberg).
On Saturday, August 12, from 11:00 to 13:00 on Liverpooler Platz (in Chorweiler). Our motto on this day: “Miethaie zu Fischstäbchen”. We will be serving fish sandwiches, free of charge.

Andrej Holm on the dwindling number of social housing units
The Berlin Tenants’ Association is commemorating “Forgotten Utopias of Housing” with a series of events. The events are recorded and can be found on Youtube under “Housing in Crisis”.
Andrej Holm in the introduction to the event series:
The system of social housing with temporary rents and occupancy commitments must be replaced by housing construction that brings permanent solutions. Low-cost, affordable housing can only be made available in a public housing construction program. This can only be done by the state organizing an investment program with public funds. We want housing to be provided like other social infrastructure. When roads are built, rail lines or a youth club, no one has the idea that the cost of that will be recouped through any payments. A youth club or a library doesn’t have to pay for itself. They’re provided because people think it’s important. We want that to be adopted in housing as well. This is to replace the system of housing subsidies that we have now. The German model of housing subsidies is uniquely negative – it’s subsidizing private owners with an interim social use for 15 or 20 years. Government money is thus used to secure private profits over a long period of time.
There have been times in Germany and other countries when exactly this has happened, that housing has been provided without its production costs being financed directly through rent. Through neoliberalism, the knowledge of this has been buried.
A series of events will highlight and remind that there were examples of mass housing construction that was not driven by costs and did not have to be profit-oriented: Sweden in the 1960s and 70s, the Netherlands, England, Croatia and Serbia through the Yugoslav experience, Red Vienna and the GDR.
Media response
High rents are not a law of nature
Several events recall forgotten utopias of housing. This Friday, for example, the topic is social housing in Sweden.!5933575/
Social housing in Germany: Clearly past is also beside the point
Instead of the announced 100,000 social housing units, only 22,545 were built last year. The stock is declining. Associations sound the alarm.!5947897/
Federal Statistical Office
Around 372,000 homeless people housed in Germany at the end of January 2023
Press release no. 305 of August 2, 2023
130,000 persons with Ukrainian citizenship housed
Couples with children formed the largest group among housed homeless persons
Housing crisis – homelessness increased dramatically
Number of housed homeless people in the Federal Republic more than doubled

This is the motto of this year’s Action Days Prison, which will take place from 01-10 November 2023.
This year we are looking at the cycle / alternating effects of homelessness and incarceration. Homeless people are at risk of being arrested and sentenced to prison more quickly because they cannot provide an address, or do not have sufficient financial resources to pay small fines.
Some winters are easier to survive inside prisons than on the streets or in shelters. Far too often, people are released from the total institution of prison back into homelessness.
The spiral of imprisonment and homelessness takes its course.
Many federal states do not collect any figures on this phenomenon. For what reasons? How are homelessness and imprisonment connected? Are they inextricably linked?
The Prison Action Days are organized by a diverse alliance of initiatives, associations and other groups and individuals with the aim of making the prison system and its consequences more of a public issue. Specifically, the alliance is concerned with debunking prejudices against people who have committed crimes, facilitating the return of prisoners to society, making the physical and psychological effects of imprisonment visible, creating fair working conditions within prison, and questioning the social function of punishment and prison.
Inspired by the “Prison Days” in France, committed people in this country joined forces in 2017 to carry out actions for the first time. Different focal points are set each year. In addition to an often larger kick-off event, self-organized actions and various events are carried out nationwide.
You are invited as an association, institution, action group or simply as an interested person to participate in the action days prison and expand the alliance! The alliance is made up of different partners and individuals and is basically interested in expanding.
For more information about the alliance and our online preparation meetings, please contact

Broadcasts, messages, news
Building industry in the crisis
Geywitz wants to boost housing construction with higher write-offs
The outlook for German housing construction is extremely bleak. Now Construction Minister Geywitz is planning a new incentive program with tax relief. Finance Minister Lindner is unlikely to like the plans.

Misery in the cities
Traffic lights on housing shortage
Stock of publicly financed housing at historic low. The Left Party calls for special funds for affordable housing.
Too little social housing: Yesterday’s mistakes
For years, apartments have been falling out of the social obligation. That is why the housing shortage is becoming dramatic, especially for poorer people. The traffic light coalition does too little against it.!5947927/
Social housing in Germany: Again less social housing
The traffic light coalition has set a target of building 100,000 social housing units per year. But last year, too, there were significantly fewer.!5951779/
Housing shortage
Berlin tenants’ association calls attempts to regulate high rents “half-hearted
The tenants’ association in Berlin is calling for more far-reaching measures by the government to limit rents.
Poor and locked in: Is everyone equal before the law?
Thousands of people in Germany are serving substitute prison sentences because they cannot pay the fines for petty offenses such as fare evasion. They have one thing in common: they are poor. Is that a coincidence? Or do people with more money have it easier in Germany’s justice system? If you don’t have money for a lawyer, you’ll find yourself in court without a defense. For the prisoners, imprisonment reinforces the poverty spiral. For German taxpayers, expensive imprisonment is a burden worth millions.,minuten3706.html

05.08.2023, 10:45 am Strengthen disadvantaged neighborhoods – Die Linke helps against the deplorable conditions in the houses managed by the ZBVV in Chorweiler, S Bahn exit Liverpooler Platz.
07.08.2023, 19 o’clock, right on city in the open meeting, citizen center old fire station
09.08.2023, 12 – 16 o’clock, OASE summer party, Alfred Schütte Allee4
10.08.2023, 6 p.m. Exhibition opening 75 years of human rights,, University and City Library
11.08.2023, from 16:30, Summer party of Heimheimatlos in Köln (HiK) on Wiener Platz in Zochs Bistro.
12.08.2023, 10:45 Strengthen disadvantaged neighborhoods – Die Linke helps against the deplorable conditions in the houses managed by ZBVV in Chorweiler, S Bahn exit Liverpooler Platz
Aug. 15, 2023, 7 p.m., The City and its Homeless. House of Architecture. Josef-Haubrich-Hof 2
17.08.2023, 15:30 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.
09/07/2023, 15:30 Council of the City of Cologne
09.09.2023, 20:00, Where to go with Kurt? Film about 3 homeless people, Ebertplatz
01 – 10.11.2023 Prison Days: homelessness/jail/homelessness

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
August 5, 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

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