What are the risk factors for the homeless

Social statisticsMore and more homeless people in Germany

According to the federal government, the number of homeless people in Germany has risen to around 335,000 - an increase of 35 percent compared to 2010. Among them are 29,000 children. The Left Party parliamentary group in the Bundestag asked for the numbers. The federal government declared that there was no shortage of living space.

The Federal Ministry of Social Affairs bases its information on estimates of the Federal Working Group (BAG) Homeless Aid, as there are no official statistics on the homeless. The ministry announced that the problem was being taken seriously. It mainly affects men. However, there are currently 29,000 children among the homeless, writes the federal government in its response. The BAG forecast an increase to 536,000 homeless people by 2018. According to their definition, these are all people who live on the streets, who are housed in apartments at the expense of the state without a lease, who are housed in emergency shelters or homes or are staying with relatives.

"Homelessness is not due to a lack of housing"

"In many cases, homelessness is not due to a lack of living space, but usually has a number of other social and in some cases also psycho-social causes," the government wrote. Targeted help is often necessary because family problems, addiction or illnesses play a role.

The deputy group leader of the Left in the Bundestag, Sabine Zimmermann, who had requested the information, disagreed. The federal government is turning a blind eye to reality. She pointed to increasing income poverty among broad sections of the population. "The fight must be declared against homelessness," demanded Zimmermann. The government must establish statistics on the number of homeless people. The BAG has been criticizing for a long time that the Union faction in the Bundestag refuses such nationwide statistics.

Possible reasons

Diakonie Deutschland, the welfare association of the Protestant Church, emphasizes in a focus on the subject of homelessness on its website that the "typical homeless" does not exist. The likelihood of becoming homeless becomes greater the more risk factors come together. These included loss of work, financial problems, breakups, domestic violence, illness, mental health problems, as well as rising rents and increasing gentrification.


In addition to economic emergencies, drastic experiences such as a hard-to-handle stroke of fate with a subsequent spiral of poverty led to the loss of the apartment. People who then did not have a social environment that would offer them sufficient support, for example, easily lose their footing due to life crises.

(nin / tgs)