On Tuesday, the Federal Homelessness Association said that a housing crisis is spreading in Germany. The association forecasted that 1.2 million people could possibly be living in shelters by next year.
The report was issued amid increased concern regarding the rising poverty rate of Germany and its ability to accommodate the 1.1 million migrants that have entered the country over the past two years, drawn by the reputation for efficiency, affluence, and stability of the country.
The homelessness association stated that over 850,000 people did not have their own accommodation last year which has increased by 150% from 2014, and half of those people that were affected were migrants.
In its report, the group said that in 2016, a total of 52,000 people were living on the streets, which is up by a third from 2014.
It continued that the number of those who are living in shelters would possibly increase by an additional 40% by next year. These numbers are driven higher by increasing rents, declining availability of subsidised housing, and the rising numbers of refugees that are granted with asylum status and therefore are entitled to housing.
The homelessness association said that immigration was a huge factor behind the increased rate of the shortage of housing. However, the group also blamed what it dubbed as “failed” policies on housing.
“The main cause of housing shortages and homelessness is a housing policy that has failed in Germany for decades, as well as insufficient efforts to fight poverty,” said the director of the association, Thomas Specht, in a statement.
Last week, the Federal Statistics Office revealed that nearly 20% of the population of Germany, or about 16 million people, were in danger of poverty last year.
The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry of Germany defended its approach to refugee housing needs, regarding that looking for individual housing around the country still remained as a difficulty.
“It should not be forgotten that the swift accommodation of hundreds of thousands of refugees in adequate collective housing in 2015 and 2016 was an extraordinary achievement,” said the ministry spokesperson on Tuesday.
Potential partners in a new German government coalition remain at odds regarding a limit on migration.