Directly behind a park bench is the television tower, stars are twinkling in the sky, the moon is shining in a semicircle, but at the same time the sun is shining. The most important object in this picture, however, is the bench, which symbolizes the target group of this optic: the homeless. Bank, tower, sun, stars, moon, everything is shown on posters, along with the words: “Time of Solidarity”. It is the slogan of an important project: On Wednesday, June 22nd, the number of homeless people in the city will be counted again; it is the second registration after the campaign on January 29, 2020. At that time the winter count took place, now the summer numbers are being collected.

“So far there has been no broad database,” said Susanne Gerull, a scientist at the Alice Salomon University, at the presentation of the project on Friday. The former social worker has long researched homelessness. “If we have the data from winter and summer, we can better determine the differences.” who organizes this census. Based on the results collected in this way, the various offers of help should be planned according to target groups, according to age, gender, origin, family situation, in the right place, i.e. in the social rooms. The data should also enable policymakers to make recommendations for action. The offers of the housing emergency assistance should be based on the living environment of those affected.

But it is already clear that many of those affected definitely do not want to be registered, that is the experience of the first count. You simply dive into the day. The organizers have priced in this timidity. “The count only gives the absolute minimum number of people affected,” says Svenja Ketelsen, head of the aid organization “Frostschutzengel 2.0”.

But the data still gives a better picture than has been available so far. “Until now, it was more a matter of gut feeling.” The number of homeless people can only be estimated, but so far the numbers have varied considerably.

It is also important, said Ketelsen, to specifically determine the need for help in the hot season. When the heat is on, homeless people are at risk of burns and dehydration. “The weather has a big impact on the situation of these people,” she said. In the warm season, the number of emergency overnight places drops to 400. In the cold period, there were still around 1,000. “That means there is enormous competition for the free places,” said Ketelsen. A remarkable result of the winter count, said the head of Frost Protection Angels, was the fact “that people were found to be affected in many areas that were not even on the radar”. In areas in Wilmersdorf or Reinickendorf, for example.

On January 29, 2020, 2601 volunteers were on duty. But for the 2022 count, only 755 volunteers reported by Thursday, far too few for the project. “We would like 2,600 people,” said VskA Managing Director Rehbehn. In practice, 2,000 are enough, but Rehbehn expects that a third of the volunteers will not show up on the deadline. At least that’s how big the loss was at first count. However, the minimum number that is necessary “is 1,700 volunteers”.

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In the worst case, if there are not enough helpers, the count will be postponed to winter. “But then we don’t have any data from the summer.” A team consisting of three volunteers should be on the move in each of the 619 counting rooms.

Each team has a team leader who is trained separately. This basic training includes ten people who were either homeless or still are.

The survey begins at 10 p.m. and ends around 1 a.m. Each team receives a code of conduct which, among other things, points out how to treat those affected with respect. The “Time of Solidarity” also includes 17 events in which information about homelessness is to be provided (details:

Incidentally, Stella Kunkat, project officer at VskA, has no concerns that the organizers will end up with too few helpers and have to postpone everything. “During the winter count,” she said, “enough volunteers came together late, but on time.”