Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Inutile stare a fare grandi discorsi.
La Germania ha 82,349,400 abitanti, dei quali 860,000 (1.1%) sono senza casa e dormono dove possono.
Circa 52,000 di questi senzatetto dorme per strada.
Nel contempo, 440,000 rifugiati godono di una casa per via dei benefici erogati ai migranti.
Adesso, i senzatetto tedeschi devono pagare una tassa, meglio, una multa:
«A new measure in Frankfurt now requires those who sleep in public places to pay an on-the-spot fine».
«the fine is around 40 euros»
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Asserire che la Germania sia ricca è un caratteristico luogo comune del tutto inventato.
«Il 40 percento dei tedeschi non possiede praticamente alcuna ricchezza»
«mini” job, posti di lavoro part-time deregolamentati, che sono passati da 4,1 milioni nel 2002 a oltre 7,5 milioni quest’anno»
«In Germania il 17.1% della popolazione vive in povertà, percentuale che si innalza al 69.1% nei disoccupati.»
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Certo, se chi viaggiasse per la Germania si fermasse alle cene dei Rotary oppure alle sedi confindustriali non avrebbe modo di notare la povertà né, tanto meno, la miseria.
Ma se ci si peritasse di andare nelle periferie urbane oppure la notte nelle stazioni ferroviarie allora il quadro sarebbe ben differente.
Poi esiste una povertà dignitosa, che non dorme in strada e non chiede l’elemosina, ma che è assistita dalle chiese. Prevalentemente pensionati che hanno difficoltà a pagare le utenze e, spesso, anche a fare la spesa alimentare.
Nel leggere le cifre riportate, sarebbe bene che il Lettore cercasse di dimenticarne la portata statistica e si immedesimasse a vederne i volti umani.
Volti umani che stanno guardando Frau Merkel ed Herr Schulz che danzano il minuetto della politica.
→ Deutsche Welle. 2017-12-19. Homeless in Germany’s financial hub ordered to pay fines for sleeping rough
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.
In Frankfurt, the wealthy epicenter of Germany’s finance sector, homeless people will now have to pay fines for sleeping on downtown streets. The move came as German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for better support for the nation’s homeless on Monday.
Anyone who has alighted at Frankfurt’s central train station will be familiar with the paradox of the city’s central avenues: In the shadows of the city’s skyscrapers and a branch of the European Central Bank, a surprising number of destitute citizens regularly seek shelter on the streets.
Originally reported by local newspaper the Frankfurter Rundschau, the new measure was confirmed by multiple city councilors: Those who sleep rough in the city’s downtown pedestrian zone, either on the street or public benches, must pay an on-the-spot penalty for doing so.
Fine assessed for refusal to move
Left party city councilor Astrid Buchheim said in an interview with DW that she believes the fine is around 40 euros, but that it is up to the the city’s regulatory authority, the Ordnungsamt, to deal with street people who cannot pay the fine from money they may have collected.
The regulatory body also told local media that the homeless would have to pay the fine only “if they refused multiple requests to move” from the public areas where they are found sleeping.
Forcing the destitute to pay a fine for sleeping rough remains an exception, the Ordnungsamt told the Left party: Fight poverty, not the homeless
City councilors defended the law in the Frankfurter Rundschau. Christoph Schmitt, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), argued that there were many homeless shelters and service centers across the city, while his Green party colleague Beatrix Baumann elaborated that these services were unfortunately “often unused” by the local homeless population.
Neither politician touched on the issues of mental illness or threats of violence that can keep the homeless from sleeping in shelters.
City council member Astrid Buchheim had some hefty criticism both for the fee, and for the suggestion from her colleagues that Frankfurt does enough to help its homeless population.
“They are doing almost nothing,” Buchheim told DW. “Some of them are foreigners and they don’t think it’s their job to help them too. They’ve made one level of a downtown subway station available for them to sleep in…but that’s not a shelter! It’s still cold, it’s not secured.”
Buchheim and several other city leaders tried last week to have a former university cafeteria, which until recently housed refugees and now stands empty, into a homeless shelter. But their request was refused by the rest of the council.
“Not enough is being done to fight the root causes” of increasing homelessness in Germany, she said. “As rents go up and up and more high-priced real estate is built where affordable housing once stood.”
German president calls for expanding services
The circumstances for the homeless in Frankfurt were thrown into sharp relief on Monday. Just as the social media outrage over the fines was heating up, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke of the need for solidarity with the homeless during an event in Berlin.
The federal government must assure that “the gap between the rich and poor does not continue to expand,” said Steinmeier, speaking from the Berlin Zoologischer Garten (Zoo) station, which houses the oldest of Germany’s 105 “Train Station Missions” that help the needy across the country. The president added that more resources were necessary in order to “get people back on their feet.”
The Berlin Zoo station’s mission is being greatly expanded so that it can further support the 30-40,000 homeless living in the capital. The center’s leader, Wolfgang Nebel, told news agency EPD that some 70 percent of Berlin’s street people suffered from mental illness.
→ Deutsche Welle. 2017-12-19. Poverty, homelessness on the rise despite German affluence
Slums like the favelas in Brazil don’t exist in Germany. Poverty and homelessness are only visible at second glance, in part because social decline is less obvious.
Germany is a welfare state. The network of social welfare via state, local and church outlets is more densely woven than in most comparable affluent societies. The economy is humming along, unemployment is at an historic low of under six percent, energy and food prices are lower than in many another European country.
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.
The reasons for poverty, and who is affected:
– 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.
– Counter to common prejudice, Romanians in Germany are more likely to hold down jobs than Germans or citizens from any of the other 11 Eastern European EU member states – the percentage is quoted as more than 68 percent. Migrants without jobs have no right to social benefits unless they have lived in Germany for at least five years or worked for a year in a job that paid social benefits. People who have neither quickly end up in the streets. That, the BAG W. argues, is illegal.
– Homeless people often move to large cities. The Bahnhofsmission – an emergency aid organization located in over 100 German train stations – estimates there are about 10,000 in Berlin alone, up from estimates of 2,000 homeless in Berlin 17 years ago. The cities offer more job opportunities and draw more tourists who may be willing to give alms to beggars. An estimated 60 percent of Germany’s homeless are believed to hail from Romania, Bulgaria and Poland.
– Winter is the toughest season for homeless people. Despite rooms where they can warm up and additional shelters for the cold months, about 300 people have frozen to death since 1990, right here in wealthy Germany.