All these checks look beautiful, right? But what if you achieved none of these and instead you struggle to survive every day by seeking a safe sleeping place on the streets and asking for donations to buy your daily food? There are approximately 678.000 people in Germany whose life goal is to fulfill the basic necessities of life. At the train station, in front of a supermarket or under a bridge, homeless people are everywhere in our lives. Yet do we know what their story is?
The project called “Stadtstreifen” in Bonn aims at laying a bridge between homeless people and other residents of the city to offer a mutual understanding, a constructive dialog and an open-minded atmosphere to break down the prejudices and misinformation about persons living on the streets. They offer a city tour every Sunday guided by a homeless person, sharing her own experiences and illuminating the participants’ questions
Our guide Melanie is a very lovely and talkative woman, who was accompained by her outgoing dog during the tour. She has been homeless for four years after losing her job and then her home as her landlord was displeased by the fact that she keeps a dog in her apartment. Thus, Melanie was evicted on the premise of the property being needed for personal use by the landlord. Yet it was in fact advertized publicly for rent. Since then she and her husband have been having difficulties in finding an apartment, which welcomes her dog ().
Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches! Life without a kitchen to cook your own meal, without a bedroom to sleep in safety, without a bathroom to take a shower or use the toilet is unthinkable for many… but for those like Melanie it is reality. Melanie explains to us how she maintains her basic necessities with her husband and dog, while taking us to various areas in Bonn that homeless people meet, sleep or obtain drinking water that may not be particularly noticed by others. She answers all questions that we are curious about, ranging from government funding to access to personal hygiene products. To gain a broader understanding of homelessness and clarify your questions, you can book a tour either on facebook or on the website of Stadtstreifen Bonn.
Melanie says “Homeless people do not merely expect donations from others as people think. Books, clothes, food and even small talk also make us happy.” If you see a homeless person next time, keep it in mind.
Dear reader, I have some good news for you! Melanie has finally found a flat, where she can live with her husband and dog. Let us hope other stories like hers will also have such a happy ending! 🤩 (14.11.2021).