Newsletter No 172 of 13 January 2024

Action alliance against housing shortage and urban destruction, Newsletter 172

Protest against vacancies in GAG apartments and rent increasesSaturday, January 13, 2024, 11 am. Ricarda Huch Str.31
GAG – gag
On the last Saturday of the old year, Rainer Kippe occupied a balcony on the 2nd floor of the vacant building at Elias Gut Str.13.

When we returned to the street on 6.1.2024, all the balconies on the 2nd floor in the street were barricaded with wire mesh.  The GAG claims to be social – instead of opening the empty houses and apartments to the homeless, wire mesh.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Rainer Kippe has written to all 15 members of the GAG Supervisory Board:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are addressing you today as the representatives of the Cologne City Council in the majority Cologne housing association GAG, which owns a large proportion of the apartments in the city of Cologne, including the 10,000 apartments of the municipal company “Grund und Boden”, which was founded in 1971 to provide housing for the homeless in the city.

GAG has – and I repeat this for the umpteenth time – the self-imposed obligation to “provide broad sections of the population with social housing”.

You, as Supervisory Board members appointed by the Council, monitor the GAG Management Board in the fulfillment of this task.

Now we in our city – as councillors, you know this better than anyone else in Cologne – have been confronted for some years with a NEW HOUSING LACK that no one could have imagined 20 years ago.

This not only requires decisive measures for new construction, it also requires careful handling of existing housing.

We, as initiatives against homelessness and housing shortages, are directly confronted with this emergency, because not only the people who have to live on the streets in our rich city, i.e. the so-called homeless, come to us, but also those who vegetate in municipal emergency accommodation under inhumane conditions, and the estimated 10 or 12,000 who have no home of their own and crawl from night to night with changing friends and acquaintances.

We are also joined by families who have to live in one or two rooms with two or three children, often adolescents, as was the case in 1947, and the elderly who, because they are sometimes uncomfortable, have been thrown out onto the streets in the cold by a justice system that consistently ignores the human right to housing and who spend their twilight years in a bed in the city’s cheap hotels with two plastic bags.

This is the background against which we are criticizing GAG’s handling of the vacant GAG houses in the Stammheim-Süd estate that are scheduled for demolition and calling for a protest.

We are supported in this by the Mülheim district council under the leadership of district mayor Norbert Fuchs, SPD, who unanimously, with the AfD abstaining, called on the administration to carry out a review.

As you know, GAG claims that the apartments are uninhabitable.

This is not only implausible, because the apartments were occupied until a few days ago, it also contradicts the statements of the long-time residents, who testify to the good condition of the apartments and explain this again in a letter to District Mayor Fuchs, it also contradicts GAG’s own statements, which only a few days ago wanted to reserve the vacant apartments for artists.

for artists.

The resolution and the request from the Mülheim district council to the city to reconsider this decision also includes examining the question of whether the apartments could be renovated to make them more energy-efficient, particularly in light of new “green” findings on the climate impact of a new building.

We are also in contact with the former Chairman of the Supervisory Board of GAG Jochen Ott, SPD, and the former CEO Günter Ott, who are critical of GAG’s decision. In 2006, Jochen Ott and Günter Ott

After the eviction of the Barmer Viertel, together with the then head of the housing office, Michael Schleicher, made it possible to accommodate 30 punks with dogs in a vacant GAG housing estate in Cologne Vingst, which was earmarked for demolition, based on the mediation of Pastor Meurer, and we ask in all modesty why an interim use, as was possible then, should not be possible today.

In our city, this is called a “Cologne solution”, according to Konrad Adenauer’s well-known definition of Klüngel as the highest Cologne maxim: “We know each other, we help each other”

And now we come to what we believe to be the crucial question: mutual trust. In our opinion, the hesitant and contradictory behavior of the GAG management can only be attributed to the concern that the buildings will no longer be empty in the event of demolition.

In our opinion, this concern can only be eliminated if you as the council finally create HOUSING SPACE FOR ALL again, as we suggested in our paper and as the city community has been demanding for a long time.

Instead of stonewalling and hiding behind a lack of responsibility, you should therefore courageously stand by your commitment as members of the Council to abolish homelessness and homelessness by 2030 and not only maintain the current buildings, but also build an equal number of new apartments by 2030resolve.

We will support you to the best of our ability.

Yours sincerely

Rainer Kippe

The GAG apartments (not only) in Stammheim-Süd:

In a recent article by report-k, GAG repeats “The effort required to prepare the apartments for this is disproportionate and economically unfeasible.” In view of the sub-zero temperatures in Cologne, this refusal to open the apartments to the homeless is a moral declaration of bankruptcy. Where there is need, help must be given.

The history of GAG in Stammheim

Express on 14.02.2022:

Drumbeat at GAG. Half of Cologne’s Veedel district to be demolished: All tenants out

Stadt-Anzeiger on 12.02.2022:

At the end of January, a letter from GAG landed in the mailboxes of tenants on Elias-Gut-Straße in Stammheim. It says: “Today we are contacting you with news that will lead to enormous changes for you in the coming years. After careful consideration, we have decided to replace our existing buildings at Elias-Gut-Straße 1 to 13 with modern new buildings.” A shock for the tenants. “In the area of Adolf-Kober-Straße, Georg-Beyer-Straße and Moses-Heß-Straße in Stammheim, there are a further 280 apartments that are also to be replaced with modern apartments in later construction phases. However, construction will not start here until 2027, with some of the projects taking until the next decade to complete.”

The Express on 11.7.2022:

Also interesting and important: Stadt-Anzeiger on 17.9.2023

Anyone who hasn’t been there yet can see from the beautiful photo that these are not condemned buildings. In contrast, the houses in Ricarda-Huch Strasse look old.

In the cold of the night This is how “street wardens” and “cold walkers” help homeless people in Cologne

New management at BAG-Wohnungslosenhilfe

Sabine Bösing took over the management of the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Wohnungslosenhilfe in Berlin on January 1, 2024. The board unanimously decided in favor of the previous deputy managing director. Sabine Bösing will succeed Werena Rosenke, who will be retiring after 5 years as Managing Director and more than 30 years at BAG W. Sabine Bösing: “I am looking forward to the new task – even if there are many challenges ahead of us in the next few years. My goal is to significantly improve the situation for people in housing need by 2030. By working together, we can achieve this goal.”

Joachim Krauß, BAG W specialist officer, will take on the role of deputy managing director with immediate effect.

Read more

Luisa Schneider: Homeless people: a vulnerable target group – not only – in times of Corona

Johannes Novy: Urban development in Cologne. Failure as an art form

Broadcasts, Reports, News    

About a homeless couple in the forest and the great work of Pastor Franz Meurer and his congregation in Höhenberg and Vingst

“Architecture can have a healing effect”

Indian architect Anupama Kundoo wants to give people back their dignity through building. That is why she is fighting against standardization and dehumanization in architecture and urban planning.!1TRNXHDPRH6C

Life on the streets – homelessness in Germany

Hanna Steinmüller, Member of the Bundestag “The Greens”, Member of the Bundestag Committee on Housing, Berlin

Dagmara Lutoslawska, psychologist in the Housing First project for homeless people, Berlin

Dr. Gerhard Trabert, social physician, founder and chairman of “Armut und Gesundheit in Deutschland e.V.”, Mainz

At the microphone: Dörte Hinrichs

Eviction at the age of 81: Life in disarray

Monika Bauer had to vacate her apartment due to a notice of termination for personal use. She was spared homelessness, but her evictee never moved in.!5979877&s=forced%C3%A4eviction/ x-

Wer zahlt? Frau will Obdachlosem in Köln helfen und hat dann schlechtes Gewissen

Haus- und Grundbesitzerverein kritisiert Stadt wegen Wohnungsnot


13.01.2024, 11 a.m., protest rally against vacancies, Ricarda-Huch-Str.31

16.01.2024, 7 pm, Prof. Dr. Karsten Zimmermann: Urban conversion in European comparison. TH Cologne, Deutz Campus, Karl-Schüssler-Saal

16.01.2024, 7 pm, Bernd Streitberger: Stages of the City of Cologne, Josef-Haubrich-Hof

18.01.2024, 15:30, Committee for Social Affairs Richard Brox: What politicians should do to combat homelessness

Poverty at record high

Finland abolishes homelessness

Cologne office real estate market collapses drastically

40th report on the situation of refugees in Cologne

The event on Vienna’s housing policy and what Düsseldorf can learn from it at the FFT Düsseldorf was a complete success. But what exactly is Vienna doing? We are documenting the presentation by Christian Schantl, the representative of Wiener Wohnen. Soon to be available on our website.

Rents in major cities rise to record highs

27.01.2024, 6 – 7:30 pm, Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Nazis. Antonite Church

29.01.2024, Film screening: ALTERLAA Forever. About the largest social housing park in Austria, named Alterlaa. Filmhaus, Maybachstr.111

31.01.2024, 7 pm, Wohnungsschlüssel statt Handschellen, reading of “Gefangen & Wohnungslos” with Dr. Nicole Bögelein, Christina-Maria Greve, Klaus Jünschke, and another former prisoner. TH Cologne, Ubierring 48, Room 201

05.02.2024, 7 pm, “M’r welle en neu Stadt baue”, Historical Archive, Eifelwall

06.02.2024, 3.30 pm, Council

01-07.04.2023 Housing Action Week 2024

07-09.06.2024 The 10th Right to the City Forum in Berlin

For a city without homelessness

For a city without evictions

For a city without drug-related deaths

For a city without violence against women and children

For a city without deportations

For a city without poverty

January 13, 2024

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

To discuss further actions, we will meet on Monday, February 5, 2024 at 7 pm at “Recht auf Stadt Köln” in the open meeting place of the Bürgerzentrum Alte Feuerwache

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