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Germany

FEANTSA Country Fiche1
Key Statistics

There is no legally-required, nationwide data collection on homelessness in Germany.
Relatively extensive data exists but does not cover all regions of the country. BAG W (the
umbrella organisation of non-profit homeless service providers) presents annual nationwide
estimations based on its own monitoring systems, taking account of developments in the
housing market, labour market, migration, social security and drawing on regional statistics
and BAG W flash surveys. BAG W also lobbies in an ongoing fashion for the improvement of
data collection with a legal basis at national level.
According to BAG W’s estimations for 2012, the (annual prevalence) number of cases of
‘housing exclusion’ (“Wohnungsnotfälle”) in Germany is 414,000. This breaks down into the
two following categories:
o
o

Homeless people: 284,000 over the course of a year
People at risk of becoming homeless: 130,000 over the course of a year

There are comprehensive, regular statistics on homelessness available in North-Rhine
Westphalia, the most populous of the 16 Länder in Germany. A data collection strategy has
been developed in the framework of a regional homelessness action plan. In 2012, a one-day
count on the 30th June recorded:
o
o

People provided with night shelters and temporary accommodation by the local
authorities (part of ETHOS 1.2 and 3.2): 10,920
People who had received some support from the voluntary sector for the homeless in
the month leading up to the count (parts of ETHOS 1,2,3,7, 8.1 and 11): 7,271

Increase/Decrease According to BAG W estimates, the number of homeless people rose by 15% from 2010
(248,000) to 2012 (284,000). This included a rise in the number of rough sleepers from
in Number of
Homeless People approximately 22,000 to 24,000 – an increase of about 10%. The number of people at risk of
homelessness is estimated to have risen by 22.6% from 106,000 in 2010 to 130,000 in 2012.

It is, however, clear that the picture is not uniform across Germany. In some regions, the
increase in numbers is smaller than on others, but in all regions, including in North-Rhine
Westphalia, there has been an increase. Overall, the number of homeless people in NorthRhine Westphalia fell strongly from 18,533 in 2004 to 11,788 in 2009. The decrease in NorthRhine Westphalia can be explained by a well-developed prevention system as well as a broad
network of advice agencies for homeless people. However, in 2012 – although due to a new
statistical system numbers are not strictly comparable to former years – an overall number of
18,191 homeless persons were counted: even a qualified prevention system cannot mitigate
the effects of the growing housing market crisis in Germany.

Change in Profile
of Homeless
1

According to BAG W estimates, homelessness amongst single-person households rose faster
than family homelessness between 2010 and 2012. Homelessness amongst single-person
households is estimated to have increased by 17% from 152,000 to 178,000. Family

Last updated January 2014

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