Winter homes for the homeless in the City of Potsdam
How a German city helps the less fortunate during the winter of 2019/2020
- January 15, 2020 10:30
According to Deutsche Welle, homelessness in Germany is on the rise. The article is based on a report that shows staggering facts – more than 600,000 people in Germany are homeless and 22,000 of them are children. According to the Federal Association for Assistance to Homeless People, every year the percentage of people without home increases. This is so because the state fails to keep up with the needs of new council flats to be constructed. These needs amount to 80,000 to 100,000 per year.
The problems are most serious in big megapolises like Berlin and Frankfurt.
The situation in Potsdam
Potsdam, due to its proximity to Berlin, has serious problems with the homeless, too. The Municipality, however, is taking measures to deal with the issue.
In early November 2019, a homeless person was attacked in Potsdam and his tent was destroyed. This attack received quite a public response and was condemned by the authorities.
Potsdam boasts its tolerant population and has been committed to respect and acceptance for many years. The protection of homeless people is also part of this policy. Brigitte Meyer, Associate in the Potsdam Municipality responsible for order, security, social affairs, and health, appeals to people to show solidarity, especially during winter months and treat homeless people with respect because homelessness is not a matter of personal choice.
Potsdam winter initiative 2019/2020
The municipality and some private sponsors have gathered funds to improve the situation during the winter season of 2019/2020.
Every year, the City of Potsdam offers information for the services available to homeless people as well as the locations of the various facilities they can access in case of need. For the period November 2019 to March 2020 additional accommodation is provided.
The new services that are offered include contact points for people in danger of losing their home or any other problems of the homeless through a person in the municipality or some street workers at Creso (a social service company in Potsdam).
Different social centers throughout the city offer accommodation for the night or “stay and care” service during the day with breakfast, lunch and dinner offered. There are also showers and clothing that can be used by people in need.
There are many points throughout the city where, for a small amount of money, homeless people can receive basic food as well as warm clothing. The opening and closing hours are to be changed according to weather conditions.
Similar initiatives exist in many German cities such as Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, etc. In addition to emergency shelter homes, there is the so-called “Cold bus” that drives through cities and towns. Employees from different social organizations provide homeless people with sleeping bags, warm clothes, and drinks.
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