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Berlin, the German capital of the homeless, needs more winter shelters!

A project from Gemeinschaft Brot des Lebens
in Berlin, Germany

Short days, cold nights: for the homeless, the onset of winter marks the beginning of a though struggle for survival. Merely 1.000 shelters for 10.000 homeless people. The “Kältehilfe” winter shelter project provides more than a warm place to sleep

Fritz R.
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About this project

For homeless people, the onset of winter marks the beginning of enormous hardship & a though struggle for survival. For the estimated number of 10.000 homeless people in Berlin, the city provides solely 1.000 beds in sleeping facilities. 

In addition to the freezing temperatures in winter, the everyday social exclusion makes living on the streets way harder. Homeless people are mostly treated as second class citizens & are therefore at great risk to become the victims of robbery, humiliation, raw physical violence & even attempted murder. In several shocking incidents, homeless people were lit on fire in German cities. 

With our innovative winter shelter project “Kältehilfe”, we are not only giving homeless people a warm place to sleep. We also want to provide safety, dignified accommodation & a sense of home for them.

Festival hotel in summer, homeless shelter in winter

We, the Parish of St. Antonius, have been providing shelters for the homeless for years , including meals & individual care, for years.  Besides using the 4 five-bedded rooms located in the parsonage, we have added 8 mobile accommodation units, provided by the start-up company My Molo, to our winter shelter program in 2016/2017. The comfortable lodges, which are used for festival accommodation in summer, are placed in the yard of our parish during the winter months. Besides a bed, electricity & heating, the lodges also provide privacy in particular.

A sense of home in shelters

Deacon Wolfgang Willisch, one of the pioneers & founder of the winter shelter programme “Kältehilfe” in Berlin, decides who gets to move into the lodges. Requirements for one night in a lodge are a certain mental stability & the ability to handle the responsibility of keeping a room clean. “A sense of home, the privacy of one’s own room & a daily structure can be the first steps for a person to get off the streets”, says Deacon Willisch, who informs the homeless about the lodges & explains to them who gets to sleep in one & why. 
During the day, the residents are allowed to leave their personal belongings in the lodges. At 6 pm they can move in for the night & have to return the key by 8 am the next morning.

How can I support the winter shelter project?

Currently, the “Kältehilfe” shelter project gets its financial support mainly through the parish itself & the “Caritas”. My Molo provides the lodges for a small, symbolic renting price. Since the money at hand does not cover all the costs necessary for such a project, we need your help & support. 
 It takes about 1.100 EUR to set up a lodge and keep it functional for 5 months (including transport, set-up, heating & electricity). Every amount of donation is welcome and is happy to provide you with a donation receipt.