We – homeless and unsheltered people, refugees and people with migration background, social care workers and people engaged in rental politics – are fed up with vacancies. That is why today 29.10 we moved into apartments in Habersaathstraße that were vacant for a long time. Through this, we created living space for people who desperately need it right now.
Temperatures are falling, winter is around the corner. At the same time, the number of infections due to corona are rising, because the “second wave” of the pandemic has already arrived. Still, many people in this city have to live on the street or in crowded accommodations, where they are not able to protect themselves from health risks. The pandemic is worsening the difficult situation for homeless people and refugees in their accommodations. To protect us and others from an infection, we are requested to stay at home and keep physical distance to other people. Without one’s own and safe home, that is not possible!
Berlin is deep in a housing crisis. For years, creating sufficient affordable housing was neglected. In the contrary, evictions are continuing under the red-red-green government. Less and less people have the possibility to find housing on the housing market and more and more people don’t even own their own home. An estimated 10.000 people have to live on the street in Berlin. However, there are only up to 1.000 spaces in homeless shelters.
The senate long since has proclaimed to accommodate homeless people and refugees in apartments, but suitable housing apparently is not available, according to the senate social department. But here in Habersaathstraße, many adequate apartments ready for occupancy stood vacant.
That is why we take the issue into our own hands! We terminated the vacancies in Habersaathstraße today. We are looking forward to a friendly neighbourhood with the tenants resisting evictions. Without them, there would not be any housing in Habersaathstraße for a long time, but luxury apartments and another hotel – that absolutely nobody needs.
This house shall be a space that other people without a permanent home can also use. We want to decide together about how we live together. Everyone can participate with their ideas and suggestions. To give the community a structure, we are considering founding a housing association. First, we get settled in, and then we collectively, as old, new and future residents think about how we want to live together.
There already are some ideas, a lot is possible: from communal cooking to cultural events, a space for women, room for counseling and therapy. The living space shall be available independently from social work assistance. Most important is to have a safe and permanent home, everything else comes later.
We demand the immediate seizure of the Habersaathstraße! The housing shall be available to those who need it and therefore appropriated it.
No one shall have to live on the street. There is no justification for speculative vacancies! The human right to an adequate standard of living applies to everyone!