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Housing First project for the homeless: children move in

Programm "Housing First"

In the Housing First project, the first homeless mother with children has found a flat. "Another flat for a woman with children is still in the pipeline," social worker Rike Lehmbach from the Social Service of Catholic Women (SKF) told the German Press Agency.

The SKF is one of the two partners of the project so far, along with Housing First Berlin. From May onwards, according to the social administration, three more agencies will take care of finding housing for the homeless. Possibly two more agencies will be added, said Stefan Strauß, spokesperson for the social administration. In response to a call for tenders by the administration in February, 13 agencies had applied. Social Senator Katja Kipping (Left Party) announced in autumn 2022 that the housing project would be permanently established and expanded in Berlin after a three-year pilot project phase. A total of 6.1 million euros is planned for 2022 and 2023. The expansion of the offer also includes housing for women with children.

Housing First: Homeless people get a flat without complications

Previously, they had to meet many requirements, for example, they had to deal with possible debts or their addiction. Many failed to do so. Finding housing is only the first step. Afterwards, people receive educational and psychological support. They are even accompanied on their last journey. "We attended the funerals of those who died," reports housing coordinator Sebastian Böwe. Three people who had found a flat with the help of Housing First Berlin have since died.

Demand in Berlin is high

Since the start at the end of 2018, the two organisations have found a total of 119 flats for people without shelter. The need is still high: according to Rike Lehmbach, the SKF currently has 191 single women and 52 mothers on the waiting list. According to Sebastian Böwe, 250 people are currently waiting at Housing First Berlin.

Housing First projects throughout Germany

The concept, which originated in the USA, is becoming more and more popular throughout Germany. Last year, the federal association Housing First was founded. The board members include Corinna Müncho and Sebastian Böwe from Housing First Berlin. "The association bundles Housing First projects in Germany, sets quality standards and negotiates with politicians, real estate associations and large housing associations," explains Böwe.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 8 April 2023
Last updated: 8 April 2023

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