The latest statistics show that over 600,000 people in Germany experienced homelessness at some point in 2022, marking a more than 50% increase from the previous year. This alarming rise in homelessness has been attributed to the surge in asylum seekers arriving in the country, with about 148,000 non-Ukrainians applying for asylum in 2022 alone. The conflict in Ukraine has led to an influx of refugees seeking shelter in Germany, exacerbating the country’s housing shortage.
A report by the Federal Association for Aid to the Homeless (Bag W) highlighted the challenges faced by refugees and low-income households in finding affordable accommodation. Factors such as increased rents, a lack of social housing, and rising living costs have limited housing options for both refugees and vulnerable groups within Germany. Bag W’s director, Werena Rosenke, emphasized that households with weak incomes, single parents, and large families are particularly affected by inflation and elevated living expenses.
The report revealed that as many as 607,000 individuals experienced homelessness last year, with a significant portion of them being asylum seekers. While precise figures on the nationality of homeless individuals were not available, data from the country’s Federal Statistics Office indicated that Ukrainian nationals accounted for nearly a third of the homeless population. The situation has been further exacerbated by a significant drop in the availability of social housing, with the number of publicly-funded accommodations halving over the past two decades.
About 50,000 people were forced to sleep on the streets due to the lack of housing, while others managed to find temporary shelter in emergency accommodations, shelters, or with friends and acquaintances. Furthermore, the strain on local authorities and districts has been evident, with many facing overwhelming demand for immigrant reception and emergency housing services. The growing crisis has put a strain on Germany’s housing infrastructure, prompting concerns about the country’s ability to accommodate its population, both native and foreign.
Looking ahead, the number of people seeking asylum in Germany is expected to surpass 300,000 in 2023, posing additional challenges for the country’s housing and social services. The German government and aid organizations are being called upon to address the root causes of homelessness, including the lack of affordable housing and the growing refugee population. Efforts to provide adequate and sustainable housing for all residents, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds or nationality, are crucial in mitigating the homelessness crisis in Germany.