Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Germany's poverty

A new measure in Frankfurt now requires those who sleep in public places to pay an on-the-spot fine. Homelessness in Germany has risen dramatically in recent years, with hundreds of thousands sleeping rough nationwide.

Germany is a welfare state. But poverty exists in Germany, although without slums – because running water, electricity, sewage systems and garbage collection are a given even in the most basic lodgings.

At present, about 860,000 people in Germany are homeless, according to estimates by the Federal Association for the Support of the Homeless (BAG W.) Some live in the streets, but more than 800,000 stay with friends or spend the nights in emergency shelters.
- About 52,000 people in Germany live in the streets, without a roof over their heads – that's a total of six percent of the people regarded as homeless.
- About 440,000 refugees have a legal right to an apartment. At present, they are still housed in mass accommodation.
- Women, families and migrants are hit the hardest. They are more frequently in danger of losing the roofs over their heads, even if they are rented apartments.
The state's retreat from subsidized housing is one of the reasons. Thirty years ago, West Germany alone had four million rent-controlled apartments. Today, in a Germany that has grown much larger, that number has dwindled to 1.3 million. Affordable housing is rare; the market dictates the prices.
- Small apartments are particularly expensive. They are fought over in a country that meanwhile counts about 17 million one-person households with only 5.2 million one- and two-room apartments on the market. Extreme increases in rents in urban areas are the consequence.

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