Homelessness on the rise in Germany

Homelessness on the rise in Germany

The number of homeless people in Germany has risen by four percent to around 678.000, new figures show. 

678.000 people in Germany without a home

According to the latest estimate by the Federal Association for Assistance to Homeless People (BAGW), a total of 678.000 people in Germany were homeless (defined as not having a tenancy agreement) at least once during 2018. Of these, around 41.000 lived on the streets without any accommodation at all. Others lived in emergency shelters, communal facilities or with friends. 

“Compared to the previous year of 2017, this represents an increase of 4,2 percent in the annual total,” said the managing director of BAGW, Werena Rosenke. In 2017, there were an estimated 650.000 homeless people in the federal republic.  

Refugees more likely to be homeless

According to the BAGW’s report, the number of homeless people with a refugee background rose by 5,9 percent, compared to just 1,2 percent for those without a refugee background. By far the majority (almost three in four) were men.

Around 70 percent of those without refugee backgrounds were single, and 30 percent lived together with either partners or children. The proportion of children and young people was estimated to be eight percent. 

Germany’s lack of affordable housing blamed

Rosenke blamed the rise in homeless in Germany on the insufficient supply of affordable rentals on the German housing market, the shrinking social housing stock and the strain of poverty.

“In particular, there is a lack of affordable housing for people in the low-income sector, people receiving transfer benefits, and for recognised refugees,” she said, pointing out that single parents and young adults are particularly vulnerable to homelessness. She also said that there was a “worrying” threat of poverty hanging over those working for low salariesself-employed and other precariously employed people.



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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