Day 23
One bowl of warm soup for a homeless person in Berlin

Give some warmth in winter

Assistance for freezing homeless people in Berlin

There is at least a plate of hot soup when the winter homeless shelter in Berlin opens up its doors every evening. And every Wednesday a former occupant helps out as well. We got to know Christoph, 42, last autumn when we picked him up off the street and treated him in our mobile doctor’s clinic. He was living on the street and just at the beginning of the season on November 1st he came to our shelter. Christoph is very talkative, likes to complain about all the adversities that life has thrown at him. With our assistance he contacted a counseling centre for homeless people, looking for assistance. By Christmas he was able to move into his own room in a Berlin homeless shelter. But not every story comes out so well. Most people that take advantage of our cold assistance to stay the night, have gone through hell and look into the future with trepidation.

Necessity

 

A hot meal and a place to sleep for homeless people during the winter months.

Activity

 

During the winter months, the Caritas in Berlin provides beds, a hot meal and hot drinks as well as sanitary facilities.

Countable effort

After around 12 months

Number of meals and beds that can be provided for homeless people in the winter months.

Result

After around 3 years

The cold assistance protects homeless people from frost bite and dying of cold. They are also kept from getting ill.

Systemic effect

After around 7 years

The problem of homelessness cannot be solved by cold assistance – but it stops people freezing to death in the streets.

Background

An estimated 11.000 people are homeless in Berlin. The reasons why people lose their homes and end up on the street vary considerably. Increasing poverty and housing shortage as well as higher rents are usually quoted as the key reasons for homelessness. In Berlin, the Caritas takes care of the homeless throughout the year: with a shelter, a walk-in clinic at Zoo Station and a mobile doctor’s surgery. During the winter, there is also overnight accommodation and a warm room, because this is the perilous time for the homeless: When it gets cold, they can no longer sleep outdoors. We want to prevent people from freezing to death and protect them from frostbite or hypothermia and contagious diseases. Almost as important as a place to sleep, a shower and a hot meal are understanding conversations – our volunteers always have an open heart for guests.

The good deed

Between the months of October and March we provide 25 men with a plate of hot soup and a place to sleep in our shelter. No one should have to freeze to death in Berlin’s streets! The men that we support are safe from dying from cold, from frost bite or cold-related illnesses. In addition to a bed, a hot meal and hot drinks, the staff and volunteers of the Caritas have an ‘open heart’ for the problems and difficulties faced by the overnight guests. Hot showers are also provided. Where applicable, we will of course also give further assistance.

About Germany

Berlin

Capital

82 667 700

Number of inhabitants

41 902

Gross domestic product per capita per year

4

Human Development Index

Germany is one of the richest countries on Earth – nevertheless, there is a lot of poverty. In the last six years, the number of homeless people has risen by 35 per cent.

About the organization and further information

Association

Caritasverband für das Erzbistum Berlin e.V.

Certified by

Transparency International

Further information and source