Social Issues

Cold, loneliness and Covid: living on the streets during Germany’s lockdown

By Maria Alonso

Berlin, Nov 23 (efe-epa).- With Germany in the midst of a hard lockdown to stop the spread of covid-19, the new restrictions mean more cold, loneliness and fear for several thousand homeless people in Berlin.

With no shelter in stores, bars or libraries and reduced numbers of beds in shelters to meet hygiene standards, sleeping rough in the German capital is getting even harder.

This is especially true in winter, when temperatures range from -2 to 4 degrees and night frosts are commonplace.

“We are facing the harshest winter in many years. The coronavirus is making life even more difficult for the homeless,” Barbara Breuer, spokesperson for the Berliner Stadtmission, tells Efe in an interview.

“More and more people are coming to us for help,” she says. “The soup kitchen said that students are going there to get soup. They lost their student jobs, so they don’t have any money for food.

“This is a very new phenomenon. More and more people are suffering.”

In fact, according to Erick Grimm, an American who was made homeless in March by the pandemic, the cold is already taking its toll on the streets of Berlin.

“There was this gentleman that was freezing cold out in front of one of the homeless shelters – he was turning blue, purple, that was not looking good,” he says.

“Then we saw one of the Germans kind of kick and say ‘Oh, he’s still moving, let’s call him an ambulance.’”

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