In 2016, the SPD scrapped almost all social benefits for people from other EU countries. For many homeless people, this means that they do not have access to dormitories, detoxification centres and, in many cities, not even to emergency night shelters. The Green major in Mitte, Stephan von Dassel, chases homeless people out of the city centre and would even like to have them deported. In addition, he often makes use of racist statements about the “aggressive Eastern European homeless”. He can expect the acclamation of Conservatives and Nazis.
At the same time, it should be taken into consideration that the exploitation of people from Eastern Europe in Germany is a common thing. They work under precarious employment circumstances such as in construction, home care, meat industry and logistics. These jobs are often connected with physical and psychological violence in the workplace. The minimum wage is ignored or even not paid at all. Due to language barriers, high trial costs or because they do not know their rights, they do not have the possibility to claim them.
Many of these individuals live on the streets in tents or in their cars because they cannot afford an apartment. If the money is also not sufficient for food, they come to us or to any of the other offers of the homeless charity. This situation became possible only after a legislative amendment in 2016 by which the Minister of Labour, Andrea Nahles, enforced that people from other EU countries are banned from receiving unemployment benefits during the first five years after their arrival. In the meantime, they are dependent on any sort of employment in order to survive.
The carrier Hermes is now involved in one of these cases: subcontractors are said to have targeted homeless people for recruitment, in order to make them deliver parcels under the worst of the conditions and way under the minimum wage. It is cynical, considering these proportions, that a sentiment against persons from Eastern Europe is spread that they pursue “social tourism” in Germany, when politicians such as Stephan von Dassen in Berlin-Mitte would preferably deport them to their home countries.
We claim: There is enough for everybody here. Nobody should live in poverty or on the streets. We want a good life for everybody, regardless of their origins, gender or income!
There is another aspect that has reinforced racism in the past years. The coverage of the refugee crisis since 2015 took place, among other things, at the cost of the homeless people. In the Berlin district Moabit, homeless persons were expelled from the men dormitories that were situated there because with the accommodation of refugees more money could be made. An example of many on how the outsourcing of social functions to profit-oriented companies sets persons in need against each other.