Soon there could be 1.2 million people without housing | TIME ONLINE


Many people have come to Germany in recent years and need an apartment. In 2016, around half of the 860,000 homeless people were refugees. The fact that homelessness is by no means an "imported problem" is shown by the following figure: Already between 2008 and 2014 – ie before the strong immigration of EU citizens and asylum seekers – the number of homeless people increased by about 50 percent.

Another reproach that can be heard over and over again: Refugees would be given accommodation immediately, but local homeless people are hardly helped. That contradicts Matthias Günther, Head of Pestel Research Institute: "Already in the nineties it was said that late repatriates would be preferred in the housing search, which was then as little as today, especially when you see the sometimes poor housing conditions of refugees." The economist points out that millions of poor people now compete for cheap housing. "Refugees only make up a small part of this, which is a distributional issue, playing off immigrants and native arms against each other only creates problems and stirs up false resentments." That in some places, however, the impression was created, immigrants were preferred, in addition to right-wing sentiment owed mainly to the fact that the supply of refugees has generated much public attention, believes Werena Rosenke. "Overall, poor people are generally underserved."

This is especially true for immigrants from the EU. For years, there are some fierce arguments about their supply, especially the CSU repeatedly warns against massive "immigration into the social systems". Although most of the Eastern Europeans find a job here and the Federal Republic benefits economically, the then SPD Federal Social Affairs Minister Andrea Nahles tightened the legislation at the end of 2016. Only those who worked as EU citizens for one year in Germany or lived there for five years have since received full social benefits. Otherwise, there is "bridging services until departure" for a maximum of one month. But sufferers are not only denied social benefits, but in some places also emergency aid. In Hamburg or Frankfurt, for example, access to emergency accommodation is severely hampered even in winter, despite regulatory and human rights. So the EU immigrants, who fail here when looking for work, land more and more often on the street. According to BAGW their share among the homeless in metropolises was about 50 percent. Especially in cities like Berlin or Hamburg this is obvious.

Because local communities are afraid of immigration, if they provide more help, little seems to be in sight. After all, in Cologne, emergency shelter was opened last year, especially for stranded migrants from Eastern Europe. Since then, 80 to 90 people from other EU countries have come every night who are not entitled to social benefits. Soon, a counseling center will be opened. "We can not determine a suction effect so far," it says from the cathedral city.