Press release on usage fees for refugees living in camps, Leipzig 10.02.2023
Share room with strangers, pay 900 euros rent - Leipzig Social Welfare Office on the wrong track.
Over 900 Euro rent for one month for one person! What sounds even in Leipzig like a single apartment with a roof terrace somewhere in Plagwitz, seems to become reality for refugees from Ukraine living in shared accommodation. At the end of January, they received fee notices from the Leipzig Social Welfare Office. They are supposed to pay over 900 euros per month in rent for past periods that they lived in one of the municipal accommodations. In one case that means concretely that since 1 October 2022 984.06 euro shall be paid. For already four full months that makes 3936.24 euros, the already started February not yet included.
The reason lies according to social office in the fact that the groups of persons do not fall under the asylum seeker benefit law and are also no German homeless persons. Is the whole not already frightening enough, the social office has another confusing message. The people could submit the letter to the job center, there the open demands could be settled.
Space Leipzig explains:
"At present, we are only aware of third-country nationals from Ukraine, i.e. people who have worked or studied there but do not have Ukrainian citizenship. What is interesting about the whole story is that many of the people who know us as Space are working and are not receiving Jobcenter benefits. How can open demands be settled otherwise than with a new application for social benefit money? Despite work!"
On the question of the groups of people affected, the initiative, which is now active on Eisenbahnstraße, explains:
"Theoretically, Ukrainian citizens could also be affected, here the social welfare office must explain itself. Either a further, racist difference towards Drittstaatler:innen or a lack of solidarity to Ukrainian refugees - no matter how, the social welfare office does not look good here. Even more important, people are now shocked and frightened and we as counseling center have thanks to the city of Leipzig again a lot of work to do to communicate the whole."
Space Leipzig demands:
"The notices are to be taken back immediately, the social welfare office has to explain itself publicly and should rather use its personnel resources to create living space for the people instead of bullying them!"
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Space Leipzig, a place of networking, exchange and orientation.
Space Leipzig is a collective of volunteers who work together to found, organize and establish support services for people with a wide variety of needs in their city. With the arrival of numerous refugees from the Ukraine in Leipzig, the space was founded in March 2022 and can now be found in the premises of the socio-cultural center "Die Villa" at Lessingstraße 7.
Through extensive networking in social media, we can build on a broad community. Our work is organized entirely on a voluntary basis and is independent of municipal structures.
Our work goes beyond just handing out food. In symbiosis with other organizations and groups, we have now been able to integrate legal and psychosocial advisory structures, the provision of housing, educational workshops and official support in our work. We have become a trustworthy point of contact, especially for third-country nationals of color from Ukraine. We see this political work as an important task, since many refugees, even after months of fleeing, are still dependent on help that they do not get from state actors. In order to be able to help as effectively as possible, we are already cooperating nationwide with private initiatives, NGOs and associations in order to build up an effective network. We also see this networking as an important means of achieving far-reaching goals in the future.