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The Paradieshof is owned by the city of Frankfurt, has been empty and decaying since 2008. The Project Shelter initiative would like to set up a self-organised migrant centre there. But the city of Frankfurt refuses. The dispute over the Paradieshof is representative of the struggles for a city for all. It shows the contradiction between homelessness and vacancy — and how this is entangled with racism: for example, the Residence Act ensures that many people newly arriving in Frankfurt are not allowed to take a job without a registration address and permission from the Labour Office. This systematically pushes them into homelessness.
Why is a self-organised centre so important? Why is it especially crucial in times of a pandemic? What else is Project Shelter fighting for? The video documents an action of the initiative in May 2020 and captures voices of activists and supporters:
No flat, no job — no job, no flat
Although many houses are empty in a city like Frankfurt, people have to live permanently on the street. And even in the emergency shelters there are often not enough places. This is exacerbated by racist exclusion: many people who come to Frankfurt from European and non-European countries are excluded from most social benefits. Without a job they cannot afford a flat, without a flat they cannot take a job — because for that they need an official registration address (more on this in the stations The authority for foreigners and Working in Frankfurt).
Breaking the vicious circle of homelessness
Because of this vicious circle, many people who migrate to Frankfurt are permanently threatened by homelessness. Therefore, the activists of Project Shelter have developed a practice of solidarity to support each other in housing, job search and dealing with authorities. However, the central problem for newly arrived people — lack of housing and no registration addresses — cannot be solved without a house. A self-organised centre is at least a first step towards breaking the vicious circle. An open neighbourhood café, housing, counselling, group rooms, German courses and events can create an important contact point for many people. In addition, the centre could become a place to further ally politically. Project Shelter and many other political and solidarity groups are fighting for a city for all, against racist laws like the labor-market test (Vorrangprüfung), exploitation at the workplace, deportations und racial profiling.
“Upgrading« neighbourhoods means excluding people
There is a reason why the Paradieshof continues to stand empty instead: the city’s goal is to »upgrade« the building and the surrounding pub district. Upgrading primarily means making neighbourhoods more attractive for wealthier classes and real estate investors. In the process, people with lower incomes are displaced. In order to achieve upgrading, for example, buildings are modernised, rented flats are converted into condominiums and advertising for the district is carried out. The result: the properties and land increase in value and more profit can be made from the rising rents. A self-organised centre, which Project Shelter has been fighting for since 2014, does not fulfil this purpose of upgrading. It has been rejected by the city government for years and put on the back burner. Yet a centre with an open neighbourhood café, housing options, counselling services, German courses and events could be very valuable for many people in Frankfurt.
Deportation prisons and the resistance against them
The authority for foreigners
The difficult way to both a residence and working permit
Working in Frankfurt
The fight for workers’ rights
Racial Profiling as a constant threat
The fight for a selforganised migrant center
The attack in Hanau
Against racist terror and oblivion
Important hub for migrant life
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The project is designed, organized and carried out by the non-profit association turn the corner. turn the corner is committed to a society in which we together and consciously shape how we want to live and work independently. A society in which people can be different without coercion. Learn more about turn the corner.