Frankfurt says: “Welcome!”
We want to open up a center that ensures the protection of migrants and assists them in their orientation in Frankfurt. The Shelter will function as a first refuge for migrants; providing a place to sleep, food and clothes. Parallel to this, the center should offer the necessary assistance to help them find their way in Frankfurt’s urban society more easily.
For months now, dozens of shelter-seeking migrants have been struggling on the streets in Frankfurt. In the middle of winter they are sleeping under the bridges, in the central station or at B-Ebene at ‘Hauptwache’ (underground shopping center/station). Most of them are refugees coming from a variety of African countries, and have already been living in Europe for a longer time. They have come to Frankfurt, because they have been discriminated against and marginalized, but also because perspective on a better life is lacking in many parts of Europe. Especially the current financial- and economic crisis have led many of the migrants to lose their jobs, soon followed by the loss of their homes.
They arrived in Frankfurt full of hope, but were once again left alone in their struggles. This has to change!
The European Asylum system has not fulfilled its promise of protection; existing human rights are being ignored. It is not just at the outside borders where people are dying on a daily basis, but also in Europe’s main cities. After their arrival, most migrants are left to fend for themselves. Usually this means poverty and homelessness – during winter this means an acute life-threatening situation for the people considered.
For a long time the deteriorating situation for refugees was seen solely as a problem for the countries alongside the EU’s outside borders, but in Germany many refugees are living in human unworthy conditions just as well. Frankfurt and other German cities try to ‘outdo’ each other by creating the worst possible conditions for those seeking protection, out of fear for a new wave of immigrants. But one thing is clear: discrimination and exclusion are never a solution. We need a long-term perspective and above all we need to stand together in solidarity!
Eventually, this led the homeless migrants and us to the idea of creating a self-managed center, where shelter, information and cultural activities for migrants are bundled together in one space: Project Shelter. A place where people can arrive safely in Frankfurt and where they receive the needed support and advice to start their independent lives in the city.
We will create this place together with the people in question, as the project should be based on their needs and desires.
In the way we imagine it, the center would function as a meeting point for people of diverse backgrounds, where they can learn with and from each other; for example through language-tandems, cooking classes, etc.
Neither ideas nor motivation are lacking – all that we need is a fitting space and financial support from the city of Frankfurt am Main.
There is an abundance of vacant buildings in Frankfurt and thanks to its own ABG-Holding, the city has a unique means of providing social housing.
We are convinced that there is much goodwill towards migrants in Frankfurt!
Let’s show together that Frankfurt is a real cosmopolitan city!
Let us make a stance against racism and discrimination in Europe!
We hereby call on the City of Frankfurt to start direct negotiations with the homeless migrants and their supporters regarding the opening of a self-managed center.
We also call on the city of Frankfurt and the state of Hessen to provide adequate financial support for Project Shelter FFM
In the name of all signers.
Offenbach, 20 Jan 2015 (aktiv bis 19 Mar 2015)