A pensioner couple in Germany have been faced with the choice of either living in an asylum home with migrants or be made homeless due to the lack of housing in the city of Bonn.
Uwe and Margitta Lange are like many elderly German couples, retired or out of work. Housing shortages across the country have led to a rise in rents leaving many elderly Germans unable to afford their apartments on their small monthly benefits.
The city of Bonn in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia where Mr. and Mrs. Lange live has decided that the pair will have to reside among migrants in an asylum home or they will face the prospect of living on the streets, reports Die Welt.
The couple, aged 58 and 60, were unable to afford the €800-a-month rent on their previous apartment due to the fact that Uwe, a former truck driver, receives only €600 a month in retirement benefits and Margitta collects €650 in unemployment benefits. Mrs. Lange is recovering from cancer and suffers from constant pain.
The couple has been housed in a so-called “migrant container” — a 140 square foot space distinctly different from their former 540 square foot apartment. The pair admitted that they were initially very scared of moving into the asylum camp.”In the beginning, we were really afraid. We had no idea of what they are like,” said Mrs. Lange.
“In the beginning, we were really afraid. We had no idea of what they are like,” said Mrs. Lange.
The hygiene conditions of the migrant village have been an issue for the pair who have complained about the shared kitchen and now prefer to go out for their meals. They have also questioned why they are being made to live in a migrant container when a building next door, which also houses migrants, has much bigger apartments with private showers and toilets.
The problem of housing for senior citizens is a nationwide issue in Germany, and according to the city of Bonn Mr. and Mrs. Lange’s situation is temporary until construction of properties for the elderly is completed. In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1979 there were more than 1.9 million homes allocated for social housing, which has fallen to just 477,000.
Last year in Eschbach a German woman was told that she was to be evicted in order to allow migrants to live in her home. Gabrielle Keller, a nurse, had lived in the government-owned apartment for over 16 years before being told she had to leave to make way for asylum seekers.
“In some cases it will be impossible to avoid in the future that the homeless are housed in refugee camps as well as sporadically refugees have to be moved into homeless shelters,” said a spokesman for the city and claimed that migrants would not be given priority.
However in other countries this is not the case. In the Swedish town of Enköpings local politicians have approved a proposal to send locals to the back of the queue for social housing in order to allow migrants to live in government-owned accommodation.
Breitbart London reported in 2015 on elderly residents being evicted from their homes so their retirement centre could be converted to migrant accommodation.
Local reports stated the residents were offered money to keep quiet and leave quickly, but the 10 residents who were to be sent away to make way for 144 migrants weren’t happy about the decision.