Newsletter No 175 of 03 February 2024

Action alliance against housing shortage and urban destruction, Newsletter 175

Protest against vacancy of GAG apartments Meeting point on February 3, 2024 at 11 am

in front of the GAG Service Center at Ricarda-Huch-Str.31

Rainer Kippe on the status of the dispute with the silent GAG:

On Monday at 5 pm, the Mülheim district council held a topical hour on the demolition of GAG’s vacant apartments in Cologne Stammheim, Elias – Gut- Straße 1-13.

Citizens stood in front of the town hall with banners and megaphones and demanded that the vacant apartments be opened up to the homeless and people in housing emergencies.

In the previous meeting, the BV had asked the administration to review the vacancy of the GAG apartments in Stammheim with the votes of all parliamentary groups and with the exception of the abstention of the AfD representative.

In response, the responsible department head, Harald Rau, sent the members of the BV the GAG statement from the last BV meeting in December, which the BV had asked to respond to, in which interim use was described as economically unjustifiable. He himself had nothing to say on the matter.

He also said nothing about the offer made by Erich Bethe and his wife Roswitha, a patron of the arts and campaigner against homelessness, who have since offered GAG the opportunity to purchase the vacant buildings and prepare them for homeless people. They have also offered, if GAG insists on their demolition, to provisionally repair the buildings and prepare them for accommodation for homeless people and families in housing need for the period during which the buildings will be empty, at least one year according to GAG.

According to the Bethe Foundation, the head of the social affairs department has already accepted this offer, but does not dare to stand by his proposal publicly, because if he stands up too much for the victims of the housing policy of the governing parties CDU and Greens, he risks his re-election as head of department. Instead of courageously standing up for the victims of the misguided and in some cases completely absent housing policy of the Greens and CDU, Rau is anxiously waiting for a nod from above.

His administration, which is eagerly waiting for apartments to finally do something about the ever-growing number of homeless people, is calling ever louder for a review of the claims made by GAG, which is now watching as copper thieves remove the valuable pipes from the buildings under the eyes of the police and security services.

This suits the cynics at the top of the city’s own housing association, the supposedly “non-profit” public limited company GAG, as the tolerated copper thefts provide the ladies at the top of the group with justification for their inaction.

The spokespersons for the Left Party and the Greens in the BV did not get involved in Rau’s games and demanded in no uncertain terms that the buildings continue to be used for homeless people and that their question be answered. The ball is now in the court of the members of the Supervisory Board, who must ask the Management Board to accept the Bethe couple’s offer if the city is not in a position to enforce the social use of the buildings in Stammheim on its own responsibility as owner of the majority of shares. We are still waiting for an answer.


Rainer Kippe


The Left and Green parties from Mülheim are taking part in our protests. We would also like to welcome all other participants of the AG Wohnungslosenpolitik. As the city has no apartments for the homeless, the only thing we can do is to open up the empty apartments so that people can get off the streets and into lockable single rooms.

The structure of the AG Wohnungslosenpolitik:

“Finally abolish homelessness”

Protest rally before the council meeting on February 6, 2024 at 3 p.m. Theo-Burauen – Platz

The presentation of the “Cologne Concept to Combat Homelessness”, which was postponed in December, will not take place in the Council in February either. But we are there to demand measures to get the homeless off the streets. In April 2021, the Council had already decided to house all homeless people in lockable single rooms for coronavirus reasons. Instead of relying on coronavirus, the council can now refer to the German Basic Law: Human dignity is inviolable.

Nevertheless, in an interview with the Kölnische Rundschau newspaper, Mayor Reker praised the people of Cologne:

Visible poverty cannot simply be pushed out of the cityscape, she said, referring to homelessness. “It works in Munich, it works in Düsseldorf, but it doesn’t work in Cologne because a lot of people don’t agree with it,” said Reker. Public order services repeatedly experience that citizens jump to their aid when they approach junkies or beggars. (KR 02.02.2024)


Dear interested parties, dear fellow campaigners,

This week, the political course will be set for the future of the Otto-Langen-Quartier (OLQ).

The Mülheim district council (29.01.) and the urban development committee (StEA) (01.02.) will discuss the planning department’s draft resolution, which we have strongly criticized, to sell the land to a major investor at the highest bid.

The Mülheim district council (BV9) rejected this proposal at its meeting on 29.01.24 and replaced it with a resolution instructing the administration to “approach the state again and seek a direct acquisition of the second part of the Otto Langen Quartier site …” The wording of the resolution in Annex 1.

The resolution came about on the initiative of the Green BV parliamentary group and has a memorable voting result:

“Passed unanimously with abstentions from the SPD parliamentary group, the CDU parliamentary group and the individual mandate holders Tücks (FDP), Altefrohne (Die PARTEI) and Hengstenberg (AfD).”

This is definitely an initial success. Now it depends on what the StEA decides today. A motion has been submitted by the democratic parliamentary groups, which we have already critically appraised (see press release IK OLQ – Annex 2)

However, if the contract is now awarded to the administration, planning department head Markus Greitemann (CDU) would have to negotiate with the relevant state ministries. Over the past three years, Greitemann has negotiated and agreed the highest bidder procedure with the state – largely behind the scenes. It is difficult to imagine that he is now negotiating the opposite with the necessary stringency.

Following publication of the joint application in the StEA, he has already made it known internally – including to representatives of the StEA – that there are “legal concerns” and that he intends to declare the expected StEA resolution unenforceable by means of a notification following a review.

In terms of responsibility, the head of the real estate department, William Wolfgramm (GRÜNE), would now have to lead the negotiations.

It is primarily the responsibility of the Green parliamentary group to successfully demand this.

Kind regards

Otto-Langen-Quartier Initiative Group

a working group of the Rheinische Industriekultur e.V.

Contact: Jörg Frank (+49 151 58443416) / Bodo Marciniak (+49 221 691717) / Martin Stankowski (+49 163 5525262)

Committee for Senior Citizens, Social Affairs on 18.01.2024 – too much is left undone

3.1 Combating housing and homelessness – providing tailor-made housing for families in housing need. Motion by the SPD parliamentary group dated 23.03.2023 AN/0797/2023 Postponed as part of the agenda.

5.2 Auf dem Ginsterberg 2 – 34 in 50737 Cologne Weidenpesch: Demolition and new construction of 15 one- and two-storey single-family houses and commissioning of a feasibility study on the future of the existing apartment building 2814/2023

10.1.1 Combating homelessness: How many homeless families are housed in accommodation facilities such as hotels in Cologne? Inquiry by the SPD parliamentary group dated 22.04.2023 AN/1060/2023

Deferred. An answer from the administration is pending.

12.9 New edition of the brochure “Wegweiser Wohnen in Köln” 3120/2023

Taken note of.

12.10 Continuation of preventive assistance to avoid loss of housing (3201/2023) 0252/2024 Postponed due to need for consultation.

To read

MieterEcho 438 / January 2024

Excluded – policy leaves homeless people out in the cold

Overcoming homelessness

Denied access.

Barriers and discrimination against homeless people on the housing market

Major German cities under pressure to adapt

Current and future socio-demographic and socio-economic development paths

Loic Wacquant: The invention of the “underclass”. Karl Dietz Verlag, Berlin 2023

Günther Moeves: Many questions for the economy

Günther Moewes: Work is ruining the world

Günther Moewes: Work is ruining the world. Why we need a different economy

Broadcasts, Reports, News

Federal Constitutional Court stops forced eviction in Cologne

Tenants’ association calls for radical measures: Rents are becoming a “serious social problem”

Cologne resident (82) fights against forced eviction

Local time Cologne 30.01.2024 from 8:30 am: Termination for personal use

What is price-controlled housing?


03.01.2024 , 11 a.m., Protest against vacancy of GAG apartments, Ricarda-Huch-Str.31

05.02.2024, 7 pm, “M’r welle en neu Stadt baue”, Historical Archive, Eifelwall – not applicable

05.02.2024, 7 p.m., Right to the city, open meeting, Alte Feuerwache

06.02.2024, 3.30 pm, Council – From 3 pm protest rally Theo-Burauen – Platz

01-07.04.2023 Housing Action Week 2024

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

10-11.06.2024 Assisted living after release from prison

11.09.2024 Day of the homeless

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

February 03, 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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