Newsletter No 151 of 19 August 2023

Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 151

We carry the social responsibility of the GAG to the grave
and demand: GAG must become social again
This morning at 8:30 a.m. we stood in front of the GAG headquarters at Straße des 17.Juni 4 and GAG tenants from various parts of the city gave vent to their anger. They not only protested against the rent increases, but also reported outrageous utility bills and neglect of the buildings. To avoid this, the participants of the GAG supervisory board meeting did not enter the GAG headquarters through the main entrance.
Our impressive demonstration procession, with a coffin carried by four men and women dressed in black, will be honored with a separate photo documentary that will be sent around in the next few days.
In the Express, the demo route had been communicated in advance:
At the final rally, Rainer Kippe called for the founding of an AG of critical GAG shareholders.
Werner Eggert of Recht auf Stadt referred to the 88% share majority of the city of Cologne and insisted that the main responsibility for the rent increases lies there.

Housing construction at the limit?! –
An inventory and perspectives for Cologne
Under this title, the Cologne Greens invited on August 16, 2023 in the noble Stiftersaal of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Since the event with the department heads Markus Greitemann (building) and Harald Rau (housing) and the member of the state parliament Arndt Klocke (spokesman for building and housing in the state parliament of NRW) was not publicly advertised, not all chairs in the hall were occupied.
Since the discussion did not begin with an explanation of the causes of the housing shortage, it did not end with a prospect of overcoming it.

Mr. Greitemann, who has formed a housing alliance with Vonovia, would like to see politics, administration and the housing industry move closer together.
In his welcoming address on the City of Cologne’s Living Situation Report, Harald Rau, the city’s head of social affairs, wrote: “We are committed to the goal of achieving a high quality of life in our city for all people. Everyone should be part of our society, have access to health care, education, housing, work, political and social exchange, and an intact environment.” At the event, he did make reference to the EU-issued goal of eliminating homelessness by 2030, but there is no prospect of “high quality of life in our city” for the homeless from him. Since Cologne is a swarm city, he said, there will always be homeless stragglers. A city that can spend a billion euros on renovations for the theater and opera affords a social affairs director for whom the homeless are part of the cityscape.

Cornerstone paper on overcoming homelessness in NRW.
by Jenny Brunner and Marc Kersten for the Green LAG Social Affairs.
The paper makes clear:
Those who want to abolish homelessness must not allow new ones to emerge and must give municipalities expanded instruments and earlier intervention options to prevent the loss of housing, as well as create a discharge management from hospital, psychiatric, and penal systems that prevents homelessness
Those who want to get people off the street must take them by the hand in the manner of a pilot, create services that are more tailored to target groups and needs, and also give those affected complaint options that are independent of the administration in order to remedy grievances that prevent them from using the services.
If you want a humane system, you have to set higher minimum standards and gradually replace the emergency shelters, which were originally intended for short stays only, with lockable single rooms and comparable services.
Those who want Housing First to be widespread must also make the necessary housing available, whether through new construction, consistent use of occupancy rights in social housing, or with the help of housing agencies and mandatory municipal housing departments
Those who want to achieve the EU target by 2030 must not exclude EU citizens, but must integrate them into the German social system and into society.
And those who want to overcome homelessness holistically must also treat it as a health problem, bring those affected into regular care, and expand the capacities of psychiatry and addiction aid in line with demand.


Dr. Katja Robinson, head of the Cologne Social Welfare Office, explained the “Cologne Concept for Combating Homelessness” currently being developed by the Working Group on Homelessness to the Homelessness Working Group of the “Bündnis Innenstadt” in the “Veedelszimmer Eigelstein”. The concept is at present in the final tuning in the social department and is to be treated on 7.12. in the advice.

The aim of the concept is to ensure that the 1,600 homeless people in Cologne’s accommodation facilities and the 300-500 people experiencing street homelessness in Cologne receive dignified and expertly supervised accommodation. The concept is based on three central pillars: a social housing agency, case management and the participation of the people themselves. According to the concept, the “Housing First” project – i.e. the unconditional provision of housing for the homeless – is also to be expanded.

In principle, the Cologne concept does not envisage any additional spending, but rather a redistribution of existing funds, in particular the funds for financing the low-cost hotels, which could be spent much more sensibly

The Eigelstein citizens’ association is a founding member of the “Bündnis Innenstadt” (Inner City Alliance), which 18 citizens’ associations and interest groups in Cologne’s inner city joined together in September 2021.

Photo (from left): Detlev Hagenbruch (Citizens’ Initiative Future Neumarkt), Michael Neumann and Markus Apitius (both Citizens’ Association Rathenauplatz), Karin Bolenius (Querbeet, Belgian Quarter), Martina Hancke (Citizens’ Initiative Mauritiusviertel), Social Welfare Office Director Dr. Katja Robinson, Burgel Langer (Querbeet), Markus Vogt (Gastro Kwartier Latäng), Michael Seffen (Veedelskümmerer Eigelstein) and Burkhard Wennemar (Bürgerverein Eigelstein).

“Rich people are looking for a home” – Satirical demo by Marienburg

On Saturday, Oct. 21 at 11:11 a.m., the group “Recht auf Stadt” (Right to the City) will march through Marienburg together with the “Pappnasen rotschwarz” (Red and Black Cardboard Noses) to protest against housing shortages and housing speculation. Here, the hottest villas stand empty because the owners prefer to speculate or fight over their inheritance rather than rent. Among others, 8 Parkstrasse. Those who know Monopoly know: Whoever owns Parkstrasse has already won!

We don’t like the game – let’s change the rules!
In Marienburg you could really dredge coal, unlike in Lützerath. Reason enough to support the demo and to bring all that we have built and texted on the subject to the streets. For this we need you!
Contact us if you want to be there when we put the rent cap on the rent shark, relaunch the drop-out program for the super-rich and vaccinate people suffering from profitlessness against money fever! You can go along as satirical rich demo, drive load bicycles, distribute song flyers or help us to create as this from the Allerweltshaus to Marienburg. Also feel free to let us know what you want to take on so we can plan better:
A preparation meeting will take place on 10/16 at 7 -20 pm at Allerweltshaus, Geisselstraße 3-5 in Ehrenfeld.

Broadcasts, news, news

An apartment is not a block of shares”:
Eviction action against tenant in Berlin’s Habersaathstraße dismissed
The owner company wants to demolish the complex in Berlin-Mitte for a new building. But the residents refuse to move out. Now a court gets the case on the table – and finds clear words.

What to do about rising rents? By no means more regulation, says the FDP-led Ministry of Justice. SPD politician Zanda Martens thinks that’s wrong. In an interview with our editorial team, she says why the state needs to take action now: especially on the controversial index rents.

Manuel Lutz, urban researcher, talks about the past and future of public housing.
“The market could not solve the housing issue”.
The best option would be a nonprofit housing sector and a strong municipal housing sector that is not committed to maximizing returns.
But you can see what’s possible when you see housing not as a commodity but as a necessary good provided as infrastructure like roads or schools.
The fundamental point was that housing is a basic need that must be met. Housing should not eat up wages. First comes food, then comes rent, was a demand in Sweden

Criticism of housing policy
Number of social housing units continues to fall
The drinkers from the Kreuzberg men’s hostel
The 46 alcoholics who live here are now allowed to drink as much as they want.
Rents rise in Cologne as property prices fall
New construction rents in Cologne rose by 21% from 2022 to 2023
Millions of age-appropriate apartments are lacking nationwide
Homeless in Cologne
Gerhart Baum: “More people end up on the streets because affordable housing is lacking”
Homeless in Cologne -Summer festival for homeless people at Wiener Platz
Homeless people are not on the streets because they are addicted to drugs, rather they become addicted to endure physical pain and humiliation that homelessness brings. These problems are not addressed by banning narcotics, but by addressing the causes of pain.
Rent caps, high minimum wages, generous benefits, easy access to psychotherapy would be the best remedies for drug addiction. Other remedies have also been tried: If you’re upset about junkies in your neighborhood, the best thing to do is to advocate for state distribution of the substance to addicts, as has been practiced in Switzerland for 30 years with great success.!5949939/

24.8.2023, 18:00 – 20:30, AK Bauen, Liegenschaften, Stadtentwicklung, Wohnen der Linken with Thomas Münch, in the meeting room of the parliamentary group (Spanischer Bau, Rathausplatz 1, R. B026)
27.08.2023, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Summer party at Petershof, Lövenicher Weg 9-11, Müngersdorf
01./02.09.2023, 6 pm Movement Conference Abolitionism. Kulturbunker Mülheim
07.09.2023, 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 19, 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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