Since november 5th, 2015 the house of “Obere Maschstraße 10 (OM10)”, which is empty since 2009, is occupied. In view of the urgent lack of affordable housing, the planned collective accommodation of refugees in gymnasiums and the intolerable conditions in the initial reception centre of Friedland, a continuing empty state of the house would be neither justifiable nor acceptable.
Who are we?
We are people from different social spectra. With the action of occupation we show practical solidarity with the refugees, who came to Europe searching humane and decent life conditions. We also stand by those, who are committed to a humane arriving of the refugees since weeks. We want a good life and adequate living conditions for everyone. This is why it is important to us, that different groups affected by housing shortage are not played off against each other.
Why the occupation?
In the initial reception centre of Friedland are currently housed more than 3500 people, even though the camp is made for only 700 people. A basic dignified supply is not guaranteed anymore. Also in Göttingen the housing situation becomes increasingly critical, while winter is approaching. Municipal buildings like community halls, schools and sports halls, that are actually not equipped for living, are used as a remedy of the shortage. At the same time there are a lot of abandoned flats and houses here in Göttingen. There is obviously no political intention to force the real estate companies into releasing their empty buildings. Consequently a utilization of this living space can only be achieved by civic actions and criticism!
What are our demands?
We claim the immediate utilization of vacant living space. This concerns not only the “OM10”, but also other empty buildings and flats in the urban area. For the “OM10” we request the right of use of the building on the part of the operator as well as the financial support of the project by the municipality. Here we create concrete living space to alleviate the social emergency situation. Simultaneously the stock of affordable housing must be increased for the longer term due to specific programs. A satisfaction of the demand of affordable flats that is also directed to the future can not be guaranteed by the support of investors, but only when new buildings and renovated buildings stay permanently in public property. Instead of separating distinct groups, forms of coexistence in solidarity have to be provided. The separated accommodation of refugees that has been practiced until now promotes isolation and the exclusion of the social and cultural life. Consequently municipal buildings have to be created in which different groups like refugees, financially weak students, recipients of unemployment pay, low earners etc. can lead a life under humane conditions. This can be achieved best when the inhabitants can organize and arrange their living together on their own, instead of being subjected to a bureaucracy, that faces them often as hostile and incapacitating structure.
How is the running of the house supposed to look like?
The housing project doesn’t only represent a temporary stopgap solution, but should offer a lasting home for people. We want to realize the formulated principles in a small and practical way. The aim is to make a living together in solidarity possible between refugees and other persons that are affected by lack of accommodation. The renovation and division of the premises should happen in a way, that cultural and political exchange is possible. About the concrete forms of living together the future inhabitants will decide, who will administrate the house on their own.
How is it going on?
The 25 available rooms in the house are going to be renovated independently to create humane living space as fast as possible. At the same time there are negotiations with the owner of the house and the town council to achieve a legalization of the housing project. At the latest when these aims are reached, the first refugees will move in. We hope that this project will inspire others and will be an example for the usage of other empty standing buildings.
How can you support the project “Our house”?
In the following days there will be cultural and political activities in front of the house to inform about the occupation and the current situation of living space. We are happy about solidarity but also about little donations to maintain the operation. A big help in such a situation can also be: tools, dishes, furnishing, food (cake, vegetables, bakery produce, soup, drinks etc.). Just come around and be creative! As long as there is a danger of eviction, a great public support is important for us. It is the only way for the owners to understand, that acting is necessary. In case of an eviction a lot of people will come together in front of the building to express their solidarity and to protect the occupants.
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