Housing First Queer – english
Housing is a human right
Homelessness in the queer community
An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people sleep on the street in Berlin, and 30,000 more live in emergency overnight- or refugee- shelters. In addition an unknown number of Berliners couch surf with relatives, friends or live in other informal arrangements. All are considered legally homeless because they do not possess rental contracts of their own. There is regrettably no information available about the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer/questioning, transgender, intersex, asexual) homeless population.
Nonetheless it is clear that this is a sizeable group of people with complex needs, who are especially vulnerable to discrimination in the housing market. Intersectional discrimination makes it even more difficult for LGBTQIA+ people, especially those who have experienced aggravated trauma, displacement or sought asylum, to access housing. This is why many of those affected, despite being entitled to subsidised housing, are unable to move out of shelters or off the streets. In turn, most shelters are not equipped to provide for the needs of LGBTQIA+ people and cannot provide them adquate protection.
Housing First as an innovative approach to homelessness
The concept of Housing First was developed in the mid- 1990s in the United States to address the shortcomings of traditional housing programmes, which normally require users to enter treatment or other supportive services to establish „housing-readiness“. Housing First begins instead with housing as a prerequisite to address other life issues, whereby the user defines their own needs, and is free to decide if and when they seek help or not.The goal is ensure that users can achieve independence and social integration by first gaining housing stability.
Housing First Queer from the Schwulenberatung Berlin
The Schwulenberatung Berlin began to offer permanent housing for the queer community via the Housing First framework in June 2023. In order to ensure tenants have long term stability in their apartments, we offer free comprehensive counselling and support services, as well. Tenants may take advantage of this counselling and support for as long as needed. This project is funded by the Berlin Senatsverwaltung für Soziales (ASGIVA).
Looking for an apartment?
Housing First Queer serves people in the queer community who are experiencing homelessness. It doesn´t matter whether you´re currently living on the street, couchsurfing at a friend´s or are in another kind of unstable living situation. The main prerequisite is that you are living long-term without your own rental contract, and that you have aren´t receiving adequate access to housing via public services.
We can provide you with your own apartment and support you in navigating the challenges and opportunities that come along with it.
We can support you when you:
- are at least 18 years old
- would like to live in your own apartment
- are entitled to a WBS (Wohnberechtigungsschein) in Berlin. We will gladly support you with this application if needed.
- are prepared to pay rent via your own income or social welfare benefits
- are generally willing to make regular use of counselling and supportive services after you´ve moved in
You fulfill these requirements and are interested? Or you are not sure if Housing First Queer is right for you? Write us an e-mail or call us so we can check together if we can help with your apartment search and additional support services.
Information for landlords
Want to be a superhero?
Do you have apartments to rent, and you think Housing First is a compelling concept? Is the queer community of Berlin dear to your heart?
Fantastic! Here´s some background information and important benefits for you:
- Over 18 years old
- Experiencing homelessness (not in possession of a rental contract)
- Long term residency permit
- SGBII / WBS entitlement in Berlin -or- own income/savings
- Willingness to utilitse counselling/support services via Housing First
- Complex needs
Specifications of the apartment
Most of our clients receive state social welfare benefits. In order to successfully submit a rental contract via Housing First, the gross cold rent may not exceed the guidelines provided in AV Wohnen. Further information is available at: https://www.berlin.de/sen/soziales/soziale-sicherung/grundsicherung-fuer-arbeitssuchende-hartz-iv/av-wohnen/
Benefits for landlords
- Your rental income is secure! The security deposit and monthly rental payments are transferred directly from the funding authority (in most cases the JobCenter).
- Decades of experience offering counselling and support services to LGBTQIA+ clients. We remain in close contact with our clients, and help wherever help is needed, without any time limit or strings attached.
- Liability in case of damage. Our clients carry Haftpflichtversicherung (personal liability insurance).
- We have an open line of communication with our clients, and with landlords, too. It´s important to us to be resonsive to you, remain reachable and keep an open ear for any concerns or questions you have. You will have a direct contact partner in Housing First.
- Increased rental income. In accordance with AV Wohnen guidelines it is possible to charge a premium of up to +20% for offering apartments to individuals experiencing homelessness.
- rental contributes toward fulfilling the allocation quota of WBS apartments for people with prioritised needs
Jo Hornung (they/them)
Wohnraumaquise Housing First Queer
Wilhelmstraße 115, 10963 Berlin
Tel. 030-44 66 88 312