Ending homelessness in Germany

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Homelessness is supposed to be eradicated by 2030. But Germany’s federal and local governments are failing to take the measures needed, reports Hamburg street paper Hinz&Kunzt.
When Hamburg’s Social Democrat (SPD) senator Melanie Schlotzhauer presented her plans for this year’s winter emergency programme to members of Hamburg’s parliament, she almost burst into song. “We are leading the way in Germany,” she declared to the Committee in mid-September.
From the beginning of November, the city will be able to offer 1,090 people experiencing homelessness a bed in emergency accommodation. And, Schlotzhauer says, it’s not just a place to sleep: the core of the programme is to “be highly proactive in offering people advice and guidance.”
What the senator did not talk about that evening was that, despite all their efforts, only a very small number of people using the programme moved on into permanent housing – last winter, it was just two out of 2,930 people, according to the authorities.
For the vast majority, there won’t even be a bed in city accommodation or a hostel until the spring (last year, 67 people received this offer); it’s a route right back onto the streets.
Hamburg’s government has now publicly declared that it wants to eliminate homelessness by 2030 – a goal taken up by Germany’s local governments two years ago after the European Union (EU) and federal government agreed to it. But how they get there remains uncertain.

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