Newsletter No 157 of 29 September 2023

Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 157

“Alliance of OB Reker failed”.
Mayor Reker explained in the Stadt-Anzeiger on Saturday, September 23, 2023 how she envisions countering the rising approval ratings for the AfD. Title of her guest article: “Cologne must confront national radicals and populists”.

Rainer Kippe found this too little, and wrote this letter to the editor to the Stadt-Anzeiger:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I would like to thank you very much for your article “against right-wing sentiment” in yesterday’s edition.
I think it is good that you have given the floor to Henriette Reker, our Lord Mayor.
I share the danger that Ms. Reker describes and the warnings she issues.
Ms. Reker only forgets to add that the biggest problem of our Cologne urban society, and thus the gateway for the right-wing pied pipers’ sentiment, lies in the decision-making domain of Ms. Reker and the council alliance that supports her. I mean the growing housing shortage, the galloping rents and the exploding numbers of homeless and houseless people, who are housed in multi-bed rooms in cheap hotels for years to come and spend the night in ever greater numbers on our streets – that is what worries people and makes them doubt our social system more and more.
Here – the analysis of your newspaper, which appeared half a year ago, says – the Reker alliance has failed. You, the Stadtanzeiger, spoke at the time of “failure.” The Greens – my party, so I have to say WE Greens – are preventing the new building because we want to protect the climate, the private sector, with whom Ms. Reker has formed an alliance, is refusing to continue construction for cost reasons. Huge wastelands stand empty, which can be seen here in Mülheim along Deutz-Mülheimer Strasse.
Cologne has experienced such a crisis before, and Cologne mastered it brilliantly: at the end of the 1960s, Cologne had over 20,000 people living in bunkers and barracks. By founding its own housing company, Grund und Boden, and its own “hundred million program” (which today is equivalent to about a billion, or just about as much as the renovation of the opera house and playhouse cost), the city built 20,000 apartments in modern housing developments within a few years at that time and thus made the housing shortage disappear. The secret: all parties joined together in a “Cologne parliamentary group” and unanimously agreed on all measures – including the FDP, which, with its then spokesman in the Cologne Council, Gerhard Baum, helped the proposals of the administration under Housing and Social Affairs Department head Uwe Kessler and Social Affairs Department head Norbert Burger to achieve a breakthrough in the first place. (At the end CDU and SPD argued, who made the suggestion first….) To read in the advice minutes of 25.03.71
We need such a “Kölsche Fraktion” again today, if our democracy, whose core is the social constitutional state according to Art.20 GG, is to exist.
Therefore, we at SSM, together with friends from our support association MachMit! and from the local SPD association in Bickendorf, have developed a paper entitled “Ending Homelessness – Eliminating Homelessness – A Cologne Caucus”, which we present to you in the appendix.
Gladly we are ready to a public discussion with Mrs. Reker with the Cologne city gazette.
I remain with friendly greetings
Your dear reader
Rainer Kippe, SSM

Discussion round at the Volksbühne seeks means to counter dissatisfaction
According to a recent study, 85 percent of those surveyed feared a long-term loss of prosperity, said psychologist Quiring: “People feel left alone, and many react to this with anger.” At the same time, he said, there is a trend toward repression, but the increasing retreat into the comfort of the private sphere is not conducive to democracy. It is important to get people out of their “social bunkers” and to give them the feeling that they can solve problems on their own through collective action.
How this self-efficacy can be strengthened has been demonstrated for years by Franz Meurer, who as a Catholic priest in the Höhenberg and Vingst districts has launched many social initiatives such as the “HöVi-Land” leisure program. “When something happens locally, everything is actually already clear,” says Meurer: “It only works on a small scale.”
It is true that help must be given where there is need, but the causes of the need must also be eliminated. Our fellow campaigners in Berlin are venturing into the “big picture.”

Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen and Co. Expropriation, the second. Berlin initiative plans new referendum on socialization of real estate companies

Crowdfunding for Deutsche Wohnen & Co. expropriation – if you don’t do everything yourself

Containers for refugees – why not containers for the 500 homeless on the streets? Should we continue to watch them die?
11,205 refugees are currently in Cologne. During the refugee crisis in 2014/15, there were around 15,000 refugees at the peak. Head of Social Affairs Harald Rau expects this number to be exceeded now. The distribution of refugees in municipal accommodations by country of origin as of June 30. 2023:
– 33 percent Western Balkans
– 27 percent Ukraine
– 16 percent Middle East
– 5 percent African countries
– 2 percent Russian Federation.

Head of Social Affairs Dr. Rau in an interview with the Kölnische Rundschau newspaper.
“Until now, Cologne has been a so-called over-achiever. We have taken in more people than we should have compared to the rest of the country.”
Cologne can’t say we can’t take in more?
“By law, we have to avert the risk of homelessness for every person, no matter where they come from. That means we are obligated to house every person here.”
Do you have room to house them?
“The reserve of 1,500 spaces given by the City Council has already been used up.”
What kind of accommodations will these be: Gymnasiums again, after all?
“We are not planning with gymnasiums at the moment. We are looking at the largest possible areas on which we can place as many containers as possible. Whereby I must say to it: All of Germany needs containers again right now. That will be challenging. We have a container offer for a site we are considering. We are confident that we will be able to use this site before the end of the year.”
That’s where civic engagement will be needed.
“We continue to have a lot of volunteer involvement in about 50 initiatives. Although there are fewer volunteers overall. But I am hopeful that more people will get involved again when the need now becomes greater. We will only overcome this crisis with the commitment of society as a whole. We all need each other there now.”
Are you worried that the mood could tip?
“I have hope that if any city can handle it collectively, it’s Cologne. We have proven that we are good at reception and integration. We now need that strength again.”

Advised by Freshfields: Vonovia buys Deutsche Wohnen from Werner Rügemer
At the invitation of the German government under Chancellor Schröder/SPD and Vice Chancellor Fischer/Greens, US “locusts” had been buying up municipal apartments at knock-down prices since the turn of the millennium. This marked the beginning of the “turn of the times” for housing in Germany with the federal government, which had a similar composition at the time as it does today. After the financial crisis, which did not affect them at all, the capital raisers BlackRock & Co. then bought up the over-indebted “locust” holdings and used them to form the much larger private housing groups Vonovia, Deutsche Wohnen and LEG (LEG = Landes-Entwicklungs-Gesellschaft, had been sold by the NRW state government to a US “locust” in 2005).
Because BlackRock & Co. were then the leading shareholders in all three housing groups at the same time, this was already a unique monopoly at the time. However, this logic, which was also politically supported, did not stop there. That’s why in 2021, after several attempts, the largest housing group in Germany, Vonovia, bought the second largest housing group in Germany, Deutsche Wohnen. That is now, under the Vonovia name, with 550,000 apartments and commercial properties and parking lots, not only by far the largest housing group ever in Germany, but also in the EU.
The German Cartel Office and the federal governments led by Merkel/CDU and then Scholz/SPD had no objections to this. The result: with this unprecedented market power, rents, ancillary costs, prices for condominiums are being driven up in virtually all major German cities; staff are being cut in the subcontractors for administration and operation.
And who arranged, negotiated the purchase and sale? Vonovia brought in and paid the U.S. law firm Freshfields (popular, for example, with all German transport ministers since the Toll Collect highway privatization). Deutsche Wohnen hired and paid the US law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. Freshfields’ team of advisors consisted of 23 lawyers, Sullivan & Cromwell’s team of 10. They were paid between 600 and 2,000 euros per hour, and because many of them are also co-owners of their firms, they still share in the annual profit that comes with such assignments.
And who are the shareholders of the new “German” super housing monopoly? Vonovia itself indicates only those who have more than 3 percent: the Norwegian oil state group Norges, then BlackRock and the globally active pension fund APG, based in the financial oasis of Amsterdam, as well as the fund company DWS of Deutsche Bank, although this bank is no longer a “German” bank either, as far as the leading shareholders are concerned, there are Vanguard, Norges, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock through the subsidiary iShares with its financial product ETF …

Broadcasts, reports, news
According to initial findings, the dead woman is a 57-year-old from the homeless milieu.
The victim was found to have two gunshot wounds to the head, which were the cause of death, said a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office…
Klaus Jünschke: Homeless people are far overrepresented in custody.

IG-Bau demands 50 billion euros for housing construction
In an interview with “Bild am Sonntag,” the chairman of IG-Bau calls for a billion-euro economic stimulus program for housing construction. Cities and municipalities also want more support for social housing promotion.
Cutting back on the poorest. Berlin Senate plans “savings” in social services. Health care for homeless and uninsured affected.
Strong appearance of Christoph Butterwegge on rbb, in which he clears up the fairy tales of the traffic light parties and the CDU about the basic child allowance.
The price of housing continues to rise: “Rents will probably never fall again”.
Tenant dispute over heating costs with Vonovia: “I can’t buy a piece of bread anymore”.
Living next to Cologne celebrities
A visit to Hahnwald – this luxury bungalow is available for 4.2 million euros
Energy help for those affected
Students under pressure – Bafög is not enough for shared rooms in Cologne
Report-K to the meeting of the urban development committee to 28.9.2023
Since 2020 bus and train are free in Luxembourg.

02.10.2023, 7 p.m., Right to the City, Old Fire Station
04.10.2023, 16:30 Resurrection Mass for Lothar Schmieding at the Gubbio Church for the homeless, Ulrichgasse 27 – 29.
The date for the urn burial will be announced.
07.10.2023, 20:05 on Radio Köln the autonomous prison radio broadcasts an interview with Klaus Jünschke about his book “Gefangen & Wohnungslos”.
10.10.2023 World Homeless Day
17.10.2023, 7 p.m., Book launch “Imprisoned & Homeless”, Karl Rahner Academy
18.10.2023, 5 p.m., A visit to the Gerling Quarter
19.09.2023, 19 Uhr, Zürich und seine Genossenschaftstradition u. Gemeinwohlorientierte Bodenordnung.
23.09.2023, 17 – 19 Uhr, Getting to know the community housing project Petershof, Lövenicher Weg 9-11,
Oct. 21, 2023, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.,. Rich people looking for a home. Satirical demo on vacant villas in Marienburg, together with the Pappnasen rotschwarz.
29.10.2023, 3 p.m., Opening of the DRAUSSENSEITER exhibition, Alfred-Schütte-Allee 4
01.- 10.11.2023 Prison Days: homelessness/jail/homelessness
10/26/2023, 3:30 p.m. Council
16.11.2023, 15:30 Social Committee
Dec. 5, 2023, 7 p.m., Werner Rügemer: Who owns my housing. Friedensbildungswerk
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
September 30, 2023
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe

Call for donations
In order to further improve our public relations work, we need money:
Donation account MachMit! e.V. IBAN: DE53370501981011342704
Intended purpose: Aktionsbündnis

Translated with DeepL

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