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Little Homes e.V. gives homeless people a roof over their heads

The Little Homes offer homeless people a place of refuge, as an interim solution or even as a permanent home.

"We usually build at least one house a day," says Lars Manthei, who is installing the vapor barrier. This weekend, Manthei and the other volunteers from Little Home e.V. will work from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day with interested fairgoers to complete a Little Home. The Little Home is 3.20 meters long, 1.20 meters wide, and about 2.50 meters high. There will be no heating in the living box with two windows, but there will be a slatted frame including mattress and comforter, a camping chemistry toilet, fire extinguisher, smoke detector and a wall-mounted fruit crate as a shelf. The door can be padlocked.

Little Homes for the homeless

There are currently 251 Little Homes in Germany. Some serve as temporary solutions. "But there are also people who will stay in these homes until the end of their lives," reveals association founder Sven Lüdecke. The donation contracts between Little Home e.V. and the homeless people deliberately do not set an end date, but there are conditions, house rules and site rules. Those who get rowdy, take drugs or become addicted to alcohol are putting their right to live at risk. "We want to show that homeless people are not bums," explains Lüdecke. In the context of increased energy costs, he says, the association has received numerous new applications, especially from older people who can no longer afford housing.

Fast construction, long application

One of them is Klaus*. "I would prefer to move in today," he says. The 252nd living box he is currently helping to build will remain on the exhibition grounds as a showcase until the end of Green Week, but Lüdecke is offering him another Little Home. Klaus can choose between Buch and Pankow-Heinersdorf as his place of residence. Applying for parking spaces is complicated. Such a process takes six to 18 months. Three to a maximum of five Little Homes are placed on a site - enough to give each other security, but not too many, so that the site does not degenerate into a camp.

Little Home e.V. currently has 86 members. Nine-year-old Henrik is the youngest volunteer. Last August, he was one of 100 volunteers who built ten living boxes in ten hours, setting a world record for "most participants in a one-day social mini-house building project." Henrik reports, "In the end, everyone ate bratwurst and I continued on my own." Since that day, he's been at almost every outreach. "If some people don't help at all, others just have to do twice as much," he says.

*name changed by editor

Visitors will find the Little Home building project in Hall 27.

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