So, let me begin by giving you an outline of my talk today. First of all, I’ll explain what is the cause of homelessness in Germany? After that, I’ll talk about what agencies are working in Germany to help the homeless, and what these agencies are doing in order to help them. Finally, let’s discuss what we can do to help the homeless.
Right, let’s start by looking at the cause of homelessness in Germany. There are 4 different factors which are causes of homelessness. According to the data, the population in Germany is 82 millions, and 345,000 people are homeless. Forty percent of the homelessness is caused by economic problems. Thirty percent is caused by drugs. Two percent is caused by problems faced by youngsters whose ages are from 14 to 18 years old, and the rest is caused by other problems, such as people wanting to earn money by living on the streets, or other activities controlled by some bad organizations.
It is easy to see that the economic problem is the biggest factor of causing homelessness. In Germany, an average income standard is 2500~3000 euros, about the same as Japan, the taxes are also very high, because the government will use this money to help unemployed persons and the homeless. I made an investigation, and I found information on a family that has 3 persons with a small apartment. It is very hard to have savings, if only one person goes to work. In addition, Germany has a high standard of education, so the people with low education find it difficult to find a job. On the other hand, many homeless people can get money from social welfare systems or other organizations. It is the biggest reason why the lazy people choose to sleep on the streets, and beg for food instead of having a job.
Now, I’d like to move on to another cause of homelessness, taking drugs. In Germany, drug addicts are very common among homeless people. Norbert Müller, director of the Prälat-Schleich-Haus in Bonn, is one of the volunteers who builds shelters for the homeless. He found nearly half of his shelter’s residents were drug addicts. Furthermore, most of them refused to accept help from government or social welfare systems, because they would be prohibited from drinking wine and using drugs if they lived in shelters. So they go back to their former life style, and continue taking drugs and sleeping on a bench or in a doorway.
Now, I’m going to turn to the last point cause of homelessness. In Germany, there are nearly 7,000 kids who are living on the streets, and more than third of them are in the capital city. For example, Mischa is an 18 year old boy. You can find him sitting at the entrance of a suburban railway station nearly every day. When his parents divorced, he stayed with his mother. After three years, his mother died of cancer, and he found he was alone. Without any qualifications, it was difficult to find a job; soon, he spent all of his money.
Peter Mucke, director of Terre de Hommes, says that in recent years, more and more youngsters became homeless due to a troubled family background, violence, and drugs. Most of them were from small towns in the eastern or western parts of Germany.
I have finished explaining the cause of homelessness in Germany, next, I’ll talk about what agencies are working in Germany to help the homeless, and what these agencies are doing in order to help them. There are three organizations that give help to the homeless. ‘One euro jobs’ is the way to help unemployed persons and the homeless to get simple jobs that pay one euro per hour. ‘Off Road kids’ is actively providing advice and guidance to street kids in Berlin. Master Love Institution prepares large quantities of hot food and warm clothes for the homeless in winter, and each homeless person can receive a package which contains hot food, a sleeping bag, a cup, warm socks and other items. In addition, many companies sell these things to Master Love Institution with a 40% discount in price.
Ok then, to sum up, let’s discuss what we can do to help the homeless. First, I don’t think only giving the homeless some money is a good method because it will be considered as the easiest way to get money without any work by lazy people. Second, we should encourage some homeless people who have lost their confidence and dreams, for example, a young girl who had a history of taking drugs. With her friends’ help, she has given up drugs and finished her high school diploma. This success story tells us the most important thing for them is a dream. Third, we should help the real poor people who are in need of food and shelters.
Today, I covered three points. First, I told you about the cause of homelessness in Germany. Please remember there are nearly 7,000 kids who are living on the streets. Second, I told you about what agencies are working in Germany to help the homeless, and what these agencies are doing in order to help them, please don’t forget there are many organizations likes Master Love Institution which give help to the homeless. Finally, I told you about what we can do to help the homeless; I hope you can remember that it is not a good method to only give the homeless some money. Try to encourage them to have dreams for the future. Thank you very much.
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Expatica.com (2007, July 12). Falling between the cracks: Street kids in Germany on the rise.
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Khaleej Times On-line (2007, January 11). Concern grows over more and more street kids in Germany. Retrieved from http://www.khaleejtimes.com on January 24, 2008