[Abolish Homelessness – Finland and Germany] – [For a City without Poverty] – [Programmes, News] – [Recommended Reading] – [Dates].
Abolishing homelessness – Finland and Germany
Finland as a role model
The editors of the Hamburg street newspaper “HinzundKunzt” noticed during their visit to Helsinki that they did not see any homeless people on the streets.
Finland is the only EU country where the number of homeless people is decreasing year by year. At the end of the 1980s, the country with its good five million inhabitants still counted 20,000 homeless people; today, less than 4,000 have no home of their own. https://www.hinzundkunzt.de/housing-first-finnland-das-system-auf-den-kopf-stellen/
The federal government wants to overcome housing and homelessness by 2030. Klara Geywitz (SPD), the Federal Minister for Building and Construction, who is responsible for this, explains in an interview how she wants to do it.
“Everyone who needs a home must also be able to get one. The assistance systems must adapt to this.”
Abolish homelessness – Cologne
Andre Salentin of Homeless with a Future (OMZ):
“No one believes me.
I drove through Cologne for 10 hours yesterday and
I got a shock
The whole of Cologne now has double the number of homeless people.
Yesterday I saw double the amount in shops, churches, also at the Lanxess Arena 30 people are sleeping there.
Hohenzollernring 20 sleeping at the roadside, everywhere in Cologne more homeless than last year sleeping at the shops
Instead of fewer, there are twice as many as never before”.
Maybe there are not twice as many homeless people as a year ago, maybe even more, exact figures are not collected, but Andre Salentin is right about one thing: the misery and need of homeless women and men on the streets is unmistakable. Although the social committee of the city of Cologne decided on 14 January 2021 to house all homeless people in lockable single rooms, there is no real effort by the city to get the homeless off the streets.
On 11 September, the traditional Day of the Homeless will be celebrated, and the Free Agencies for Assistance to the Homeless and the City of Cologne have prepared for it in such a way that neither the overdue confrontation with the helplessness of the homeless nor the pending accommodation of the homeless in single rooms and flats will be the focus: https://www.stadt-koeln.de/politik-und-verwaltung/presse/tag-der-wohnungslosen
WHY IS THIS?
Almost all homeless people long for a flat of their own. Social Affairs Director Rau wants the council and the city public to know that “the market won’t provide it”. He is not responsible, “the market” is to blame. https://buergerinfo.stadt-koeln.de/getfile.asp?id=733280&type=do
But it is the city government of the Greens and the CDU that have prevented sufficient affordable housing from being built in the past two decades and international profit-oriented corporations from enriching themselves by building hotels, offices, luxury condominiums and luxury homes in Cologne.
A current example was in the Stadt-Anzeiger on 25.8.2022. 750 flats are to be built on the Deutsche Welle site. Of these, only 9% are subsidised. https://www.ksta.de/koeln/riesiges-bauvorhaben-in-koeln-750-wohnungen-entstehen-auf-frueherem-deutsche-welle-areal-39897532?backlink
While a few hundred homeless people vegetate on the streets, the city of Cologne has taken in and housed a few thousand refugees from Ukraine in a very short time. https://www.24rhein.de/koeln/koeln-ukraine-fluechtlinge-krieg-unterbringung-hilfe-unterkunft-messe-zeltstadt-hotel-privatperson-91464775.html
In this newsletter we have repeatedly welcomed the solidarity with the refugees, but we have also repeatedly asked why the homeless have not been included in this effort.
There is no honest open discussion about this in Cologne – neither in the council nor in the Cologne media.
A few decades ago, the administrators of poverty did not shy away from openly stating that it simply did not pay off to fight poverty and that it was more profitable to bring so-called “foreign workers” into the country back then instead of making our own poor and sick fit for the labour market. This is still true today.
The former head of social affairs and later Cologne diocesan Caritas director Ulrich Brisch explained what was meant by “asocial homeless” as follows: “They are to be understood as those persons who are unable to fit into civil society and whose social upliftment is not possible or only possible at great personal and material expense”.
He is also brutally frank in his characterisation of their accommodation in the shelters: “The shelters for the homeless should be solidly built, but equipped in the simplest possible way. The impression must never be given that accommodation for the homeless is to be confused with housing. Any generosity in the furnishings strengthens the inertia of the homeless in the shelters.” (Ulrich Brisch: Das Obdachlosenproblem, in: Nachrichtendienst des Deutschen Vereins für Öffentliche und Private Fürsorge, 1965, pp. 47-50)
One of the successes of the anti-authoritarian protest movement of the 1968s was that the social fringe groups became a topic of general interest and a central subject of research. This also led to such contributions in Der Spiegel in 1970:
“If it is true that capitalist countries — as the Marxist US economists Paul Alexander Baran and Paul M. Sweezy claim — need “a special group of pariahs” who “by their very existence have a harmonising effect on the structure of society”, then West Germany’s pariahs include the homeless.
The ostracism of those who are poorer certainly fits into the image of a society that has elevated commercial success to a moral maxim and demands performance to the point of impotence — always allowing for a human breakage rate, as in the production of disposable bottles. It fits in with an economic system that only feigns the quality that the founders of Christian religion called charity, the founding fathers of socialism called solidarity and France’s revolutionaries once called brotherhood, the third demand for freedom and equality.
The West German affluent state accepts the existence of its slums — as a kind of penal institution for all those who cannot keep up in the meritocracy and thus in the housing market. Around 500,000 West Germans have second homes, but many more Germans do not even have a first home. “Here,” says Cologne social councillor Norbert Burger, “the market economy … has become a curse.”
For a city without poverty
Currently, the Federal Statistical Office reports that every eighth tenant is overburdened with their housing costs. And these are average figures – in the districts of the poor in the big cities it is far more. https://www.gmx.net/magazine/wirtschaft/statistik-achte-mieter-wohnkosten-ueberlastet-37230508
The Wuppertal-based Tacheles e.V. has submitted a statement on the Citizen’s Income Act:
“First of all, we would like to make it clear that there must be an immediate increase in the standard needs and/or other solutions in the face of the price and energy price increases! With the current standard needs, a dignified life can no longer be ensured. They have been too low for a long time, and have been specially reduced. In the inflation and energy crisis, they are even more so. This is especially true for people who have been receiving social benefits for a long time, be it single parents, carers or people who have been receiving SGB II/SGB XII or AsylbLG benefits for years due to health or other restrictions and who are facing a “lifetime” of these benefits. Because these people have not had any reserves for a long time.”
Media echo on the protests against the vacancy in Friedrich-Engles-Str. 7 Rainer Kippe has already announced the next four rallies “Flats for homeless and refugees” on 27.08., 03.09., 10.09. and 17.09.2022, corner of Berrenrather Str./ Friedrich-Engels-Str.
Squatting can also be fun: Pressure on the “armchair farters” in Cologne https://r-mediabase.eu/hausbesetzung-kann-auch-spass-machen-druck-auf-die-sesselfurzer-in-koeln/
“The administration lacks guts” Prominent people demonstrate in front of “Russian houses” in Sülz https://www.ksta.de/koeln/lindenthal/-der-verwaltung-fehlt-mumm–prominente-demonstrieren-vor-suelzer–russenhaeusern–39889194
“What are you afraid of?”
Associations fire against city at vigil in front of “Russian houses” in Cologne https://www.express.de/koeln/koeln-mahnwache-kritisiert-leerstand-von-haeusern-in-suelz-106280
“The administration lacks guts” Prominent people demonstrate in front of “Russian houses” in Sülz https://www.rundschau-online.de/region/koeln/lindenthal/-der-verwaltung-fehlt-mumm–prominente-demonstrieren-vor-suelzer–russenhaeusern–39889194
“Russenhäuser”: Adenauer speaks at demonstration Citizens’ initiative demands expropriation or confiscation – pressure on the city grows Rundschau 22.08.2022, article by Ulrike Weinert
Programmes, Reports, News
German Tenants’ Association: “Germany needs a social summit!” https://www.lifepr.de/inaktiv/deutscher-mieterbund-ev/deutscher-mieterbund-deutschland-braucht-einen-sozialgipfel/boxid/912333
Heartless action Cologne residents stunned: shop sets up nail boards to get rid of homeless https://www.express.de/koeln/koeln-schuhgeschaeft-will-obdachlose-mit-nagelbrett-vertreiben-106765
Why are whole houses in Berlin empty?
Effects of the heat wave on cities: Hot iron The temperature difference between cities and the surrounding area can be up to 15 degrees. Experts are calling for a national heat protection plan. https://taz.de/Auswirkungen-der-Hitzewelle-auf-Staedte/!5875922/
Grey energy. Grey is the new green Construction is booming. But in the face of the climate crisis, the voices against constant new construction are growing louder in order to conserve resources, minimise emissions and make use of the energy consumed. But action remains difficult. https://www.kontextwochenzeitung.de/wirtschaft/594/grau-ist-das-neue-gruen-8367.html
The model of “cooperative building land development”: a social model with many holes Again and again, the state and the districts let the construction of new social housing slip through their fingers. This is shown by a Green Party question. https://taz.de/Modell-Kooperative-Baulandentwicklung/!5873152/
Complaints about homeless people being evicted https://www.hinzundkunzt.de/beschwerden-ueber-vertreibung-von-obdachlosem/
Recommended Reading Philipp P. Metzger: Expropriating Housing Corporations. How Deutsche Wohnen & Co. turn a basic need into profit. Mandelbaum Kritik & Utopie, Berlin, Vienna 2021
Andrej Holm: Objects of Return. On the housing question and what Engels could not yet know. Dietz Berlin, Berlin 2022
Beke Ernst: Homelessness in Germany. On the Stigmatisation of Homeless People GRIN Verlag, 2022
27.08.2022. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Rally “Housing for Homeless and Refugees”, corner of Berrenrather Str. / Friedrich Engels Str.
27.08.2022, 12 pm, Large demonstration: Expropriation instead of crisis – building a climate-just future. Hohenzollernring. Ende Gelände, Fridays for Future, a.o.
27.082022, 2 p.m. – 10 p.m., Loss mer singe visiting the SSM on the Rhine, Faulbach 2. Admission 11 euros – for loss mer singe and the Socialist Self-Help Mülheim
27.082022 at 3 p.m. the city historian Martin Stankowski and selected vendors of the street magazine DRAUSSENSEITER will have a tete-a-tete and show that Cologne really does have a double city map. Tickets for the good cause are now available here:
27.08.2022, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., Traffic Turnaround Action Day “9-Euro Ticket Continue”, Am Alten Messeturm/Nähe Tanzbrunnen, Kennedy-Ufer
08.09.2022, 3:30 p.m., Council of the City of Cologne
08-25.09.2022, “UPDATE NACHHALTIGKEIT” – Festival for new building culture Apollo-Hochaus / Kö 106, Königsallee 106, 40215 Düsseldorf https://bda-festival.de/
11.09.2022 Day of the Homeless https://www.stadt-koeln.de/politik-und-verwaltung/presse/tag-der-wohnungslosen
17-25. 09. 2022 , Photo exhibition “mülheim anders” at SSM, Am Faulbach 2
22.09.2022, 3:30 p.m., Social Committee
08.10.2022 European and national day of action for a rent freeze https://europeandayofactionforhousingrights.wordpress.com/
02.-06.11.2022 Meeting: European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City in Athens. https://housingnotprofit.org/
03.11.2022, 19 h, Masterplan against destitution? Discussion on homelessness and drug addiction. With Monika Kleine, SKF, Stefan Lehmann, Health Department, Dominik Meiering, Pfarr, Harald Rau, Head of Social Affairs. Karl Rahner Academy, 5 €
10.11.2022, 9 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. Council of the City of Cologne
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
27 August 2022 Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe https://wohnungsnot.koeln
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