The number of people sleeping outside on cold winter days is alarming. Either you are new in Berlin or have been around for quite some time, this reality must have struck your attention.

On 14 Nov. 2017, BAG Wohnungslosenhilfe (Federal Association for Homelessness Support) presented its current estimate of the number of homeless people in Germany. In 2016, around 860,000 people in Germany didn´t have a place to live in, more than half of whom are refugees. Minors and children constitute 8% of people living on the street. From 2017 to 2018, BAG W predicted a further increase in number from 350,000 to around 1.2 million homeless people.

Figures about Homelessness in Berlin: circa 6.000 to 10.000 are currently living in the streets of Berlin., Circa 50.000 people have no permanent home and considered to be homeless, even though they don´t live on the street.

Women, families, and migrants are hit the hardest. Those people are more frequently in danger of losing the roofs over their heads, even if they have rented apartments.

Affordable housing is becoming very rare in Germany. The housing market doesn’t cover the actual demand. 1.9 million affordable flats nationwide are lacking. People are paying rents which are too high compared to their average incomes. There is a strong need for even more construction for social housing and the strengthening of rent control laws.

Projects which need your support in Berlin

As temperatures are dropping below zero this winter, we should all be concerned about how we can help all these people sleeping out there. This article will explain to you how and where you can get involved and offer support, help and the right to human dignity to all of those in need.

There are many projects you may find on our platform GoVolunteer. Either you are in Berlin or in some other city in Germany, through this platform you will find different projects aimed to support homeless people and get your chance to contribute.

Here are just a few examples:

WINTER: “Cycling Friends” goes “Stadtmission” is a project which runs every Sunday from November to March between 2:30 pm and 6 pm. You can take part in preparing food for homeless people in Berlin. The project is located in Forckenbeckstraße 16, 14199 Berlin.

Berliner Obdachlosenhilfe organizes reliefs tours through Berlin every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. They distribute cooked food, clothing and other necessary things to homeless people. The food is prepared in Wedding and then distributed around 4 different stations: Leopoldplatz, Alexanderplatz, Kottbusser Tor and Hansaplatz on Sundays only.

Nachtcafé “Zum Guten Hirten” is a winter initiative for people without shelter. There are two overnight rooms with a total of 15 beds in a basement apartment. From the 1st of November to mid-April they provide people in need with a warm meal in the evening and breakfast in the morning. Moreover, this is a place where homeless people will be listened to and morally supported. They are always looking for extra help, such as help in the kitchen, and donations.

Komm & Sieh  provides emergency accommodation, housing assistance for people in need. Furthermore, it offers second-hand items to those who are in difficult financial conditions. They are looking for volunteers to help sort out clothing and some assistance with the cash register.

Important contacts and resources

When you notice someone sleeping outside, you should contact this phone number: (0178) 523 58-38.

Kältebus provides transports to different shelters across the city for homeless people. It’s important, however, that you talk to the person and ask if he/she wants to be transported before you make the phone call. In case of emergencies, you should contact the ambulance (national code for the ambulance: 112)

This service works from the 1st of November to the 31st of March.

About the Author:

Flavia Rizzato is a member of the Communication Team at GoVolunteer. She holds a Bachelor degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, focusing on Russian and Portuguese languages. After many years of wondering around, she finally settled in Berlin. She loves cultural exchanges, challenging herself with new languages and having a good laugh.