Newsletter No 165 of 25 November 2023

Action alliance against housing shortage and urban destruction, Newsletter 165

Vigil against vacancy Hitzelerstr.125
On Saturday, November 25, 2023 our vigil against vacancy will take place from 11 a.m. in front of the building Hitzelerstr.125 in Raderthal. The building has an interesting history. Because it was the broadcasting center of the predecessor of WDR in 1927, there is interest in housing a radio museum in the listed building. We do not want to oppose this. But as long as this is not realized and the building is empty, it is also interesting for people who live on the street.

The city of Cologne has announced its winter aid program and forgotten to tell the public that there are homeless people who do not want to live in emergency shelters with multi-bed rooms without doors. Even homeless people with dogs are not allowed in there. And neither are those who have been banned from the emergency shelters. Where should they go? We know from talking to those affected that they would rather go into empty houses if they are tolerated there than live on the street or in tents. We want to support that. Homeless people have already spent a night in Hitzeler Strasse. They were evicted. Why are they not tolerated?

Rise in the number of homeless people
An estimated 607,000 people without accommodation
Number of homeless people has risen significantly
Almost 60 percent more than in the previous year: 607,000 people were homeless in 2022

Digital workshop on housing for homeless people
in cooperation with the Protestant Association for Livelihood Security and Participation (EBET)
on 01.12.2023 from 13.00 – 15.00 hrs
Supporting (then formerly) homeless people in their own accommodation is an important component of assistance that is becoming increasingly important. At the latest with the requirement of Housing First that these people in their own living space should be free to decide how to implement this support, the question arises as to how this offer can be implemented well so that it has a good outcome for everyone involved: for the clients, for the neighbors and also for the homelessness services.
There are not only questions about how to deal with voluntariness, e.g. with young clients, or problem-solving strategies for neighborhood conflicts. The services and employees must also continue to develop and critically reflect on their own attitude and skills. This not only raises questions about the flexibility, resources and personal attitude of staff when working with clients, but service agreements also need to be adapted in order to move people into their own homes and provide them with needs-oriented and long-term support. We want to present examples of how people are offered support on their way into their own living space and how this is also structurally anchored there.
Participants will receive tips and suggestions for discussing their own attitudes and questions. We are delighted that we have been able to attract colleagues and projects to share their concrete
implementation of support for people in their own living space:
– Chancenhaus for young adults, Barbara Unterlerchner and Jürgen Hölbling, Neunerhaus Vienna
– Assisted living and support in residential facilities, Simone Hahn, Diakonie Freiburg
– Housing First – voluntary support in housing, Rike Lehmbach, SkF Berlin
Please register via the following link:
Please note: If your registration is successful, you will receive a confirmation email to the email address you provided.
The registration deadline is 28.11.2023. Registration is no longer possible after this date.
You will receive the access data by 30.11.2023
We will work with the video tool Zoom.
Please note the data protection conditions for this tool.
Participation is free of charge.
If you have any questions, please contact: kagw at
We look forward to everyone taking part.
Yours sincerely
Stefan Kunz Kath. Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Wohnungslosenhilfe
Karlstr. 40 79104 Freiburg Phone: +49 (761) 200 378

“No more prison for driving without a ticket”,
December 5th is Freedom Day again and we need your help: people are still in prison because of their poverty. This is despite the fact that the SPD and the Greens are in favour of reforming Section 265a of the German Criminal Code and thus completely decriminalizing driving without a ticket.
What is Freedom Day?
Freedom Day is the biggest prisoner liberation in German history. This time we want to raise €50,000 to buy the release of prisoners. On the one hand, this will allow people to return home to their families. On the other hand, we are sending a clear signal to Justice Minister Marco Buschmann for decriminalization. Nobody should go to prison anymore because they can’t afford a bus/train ticket.
Here are 3 things you can do now:
Support the Freedom Fund at:
Here you will find information and support options so that we can buy the freedom of even more people and increase the pressure on the Ministry of Justice!
2. share the petition with at least 2 people around you.
3. follow the Freedom Fund on social media:
Why the holidays are the worst:
“In the 15 years I worked in prison management, the substitute custodial sentences shocked me the most,” says Dr. Thomas Galli. The former prison governor supports the Freedom Fund in its campaign “Christmas time and the separation from family is the saddest time of the year for those who have been wrongly imprisoned. Mothers are separated from their young children because they couldn’t afford the streetcar ticket.”
Thank you for your support in the fight for decriminalization!
Arne and Saman from the Freedom Fund

VONOVIA tenants demand
full inspection of receipts for heating and operating costs
Dear Sir or Madam,
In the fall, many Vonovia tenants will receive their heating and operating cost bills for 2022. This year in particular, there are high additional claims and increases in advance payments. According to the experience of the Witten Tenants’ Association and the nationwide tenants’ alliance & VoNO!via & Co., Vonovia is unable or unwilling to provide evidence that these claims are correct.

“No payment without full receipts” is therefore the urgent recommendation to all tenants.

Tenants in Bottrop-Welheim who received their heating bills for the period April 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022 last March were hit particularly hard. Some of the claims amounted to several thousand euros. Following tenant protests and consistent objections, Vonovia had to back down partially. According to its own information, it waived around a quarter of a million euros. However, Vonovia wants to insist on its claims for the next settlement. It has not even submitted all original receipts for 2021/2022.
According to the statutory provisions, tenants have the right to inspect the originals of all receipts (invoices, contracts, proof of payment, etc.) to verify the accuracy of the statements. And Vonovia has a problem with this. It does send tenants daunting mountains of paper on request. However, the majority of these are inadmissible documents from the company itself, which are also incomplete. No tenant who has consistently demanded to see the documents has yet had to pay the additional charges.
In order to be absolutely certain in case of doubt in court that we have done everything we can to inspect the complete receipts, we will be visiting Vonovia’s head office next Monday at around 11:45 a.m. to demand that our members in Witten, Bottrop, Essen and Wuppertal submit the original documents that have been withheld to date. This “outreach document inspection” has been preceded by numerous unsuccessful letters from our tenants’ organization. Vonovia has also not responded to the announcement of an appointment on November 20.
Before the attempt to inspect the documents, we are holding a small press conference within sight of the company headquarters. There are banners and signs. Tenants will be available for interviews.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.
Knut Unger, Spokesperson for the Witten Tenants’ Association mobile: ++49-(0)157-58067500

Broadcasts, reports, news
More women and the elderly affected – Günter Wallraff calls for policy change
Overcome homelessness by 2030
Why are people homeless in Hamburg?
Why has the Rechtshaus been empty for years?

Greens want to solve housing shortage by expanding existing buildings

Refuge for homeless women in Berlin-Kreuzberg: “Things are different than in other facilities – you can arrive here”–hier-kann-man-ankommen-10775002.html

The fight against homelessness
Housing instead of the street – how it can work

Housing shortage and homelessness: what’s going wrong? | extra 3 | NDR
New overnight accommodation for the homeless in Mainz
Homeless man dies after brutal attack – 15-year-old is the main suspect
Horrific video footage shows: Homeless man killed in Darmstadt “didn’t fight back for a second”
Düsseldorf main station: Homeless man injured by bottle thrown, kicked and punched
Metal spikes, blocked garbage cans and begging bans: How German cities are cracking down on the homeless–harte-verbote-sorgen-fuer-diskussion-34194632.html
“There are many of us who are ashamed”
Heiko Krenz became homeless and fought his way back
Fraud with the rent – WDR Lokalzeit from Cologne from minute 4
Affordability promises my ass: Degewo and Co. raise every third rent
Berlin housing companies increase every third rent by up to eleven percent
Terminally ill on the street. Homeless and uninsured – who pays?
Five arguments why climate-friendly housing can only be achieved with public housing.

25.11.2023, 11 a.m., vigil against vacancies, Hitzelerstr.125

26.11.2023, 14:30 Benefit film event for Freikaufen Cologne. Filmforum Ludwig
30.11.2023, 3 pm, Special meeting of the Social Committee, Bürgerhaus Stollwerck
04.12.2023, 7 pm, Right to the city. Open meeting, Alte Feuerwache community center
05.12.2023, 7 p.m., Werner Rügemer: Who owns my living space. Peace Education Center
07.12.2023, 2 p.m. Council of the City of Cologne.
21.01.2024, 6 – 7:30 pm, Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Nazis

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
November 25, 2023
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe

Appeal for donations
We need money to further improve our public relations work:
Donation account MachMit! e.V. IBAN: DE53370501981011342704
Purpose: Action alliance

We will meet to discuss further actions on Monday, December 4 at 7 pm in the open meeting room of the Bürgerzentrum Alte Feuerwache

Translated with DeepL

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