Homelessness in Germany is a significant social issue, one that is estimated to affect around 678,000 people.[1] This figure includes about 372,000 people that are accommodated (in refugee shelters, etc.) by public services, e.g. by the municipalities.[2] Since 2014, there has been a 150% increase in the homeless population within the country.[3] Reportedly, around 22,000 of the homeless population are children.[1][citation needed]

In addition, the country has yet to publish statistics on homelessness at a Federal Level[4] despite it being an ongoing and widespread matter.


Prior to WWII

In 1933, the Nazi Party passed a Law "against Habitual and Dangerous Criminals", which allowed for the relocation of beggars, homeless, and the unemployed to concentration camps.[5]

WWII and its impact

In 1942, British bombing raids destroyed a total of 3.6 million homes, with 7.5 million Germans left homeless.[6]

Current statistics

A homeless person sleeping on the street
A homeless person in Frankfurt

The homeless levels have risen more than 4% between 2017–2018.[1] In addition, according to BAGW's report, refugees are more likely to be homeless.[7] The number of homeless people with a refugee background increased by 5.9%. A majority of the homeless population is men (three in four).[7] There is a worrying increase in the amount of young homeless in some countries including Germany.[8]


The Federal Government acknowledges that homelessness in Germany is caused by multiple factors, "such as financial, domestic, and individual psychosocial reasons" and that it is not merely rooted in the lack of affordable accommodation[4] According to Global Homelessness Statistics, "Around 50% of poor households spend more than 40% of their disposable income on housing".[8] The Berlin Homeless Shelter Association provides housing to the homeless population in Berlin, Germany.


Research has been conducted to investigative proactive ways to prevent homelessness. People being evicted from their homes is one of the most common factors for homelessness. Some instruments used to stop the eviction process, include financial support, legal provision for cases of hardship, and assistance negotiations with landlords.[9] As stated by Dr. Busch-Geertsema, coordinator of the European Observatory on Homelessness, prevention is categorized in several ways: primary prevention (larger risk groups), secondary prevention (those being threatened with eviction), and tertiary prevention (persons who are already homeless).[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Homelessness in Germany on the rise". DW.COM. 2019-11-11. Retrieved 2020-01-31.
  2. ^ "Statistics of homeless people accommodated". Statistisches Bundesamt. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  3. ^ "Germany: 150 percent rise in number of homeless since 2014". DW.COM. 2017-11-14. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  4. ^ a b "OHCHR | Home". ohchr.org. Retrieved 2020-01-31.
  5. ^ "The History Place - Holocaust Timeline". www.historyplace.com. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  6. ^ "The outbreak of war and its impact - World War Two and Germany 1939-1945 - AQA - GCSE History Revision - AQA". BBC Bitesize. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  7. ^ a b Wedia. "Homelessness on the rise in Germany". www.iamexpat.de. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  8. ^ a b "Global Homelessness Statistics". Homeless World Cup. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  9. ^ a b Busch-Geertsema, Volker (2014). Homelessness and Prevention Policies in Europe. Brussels: European Commission.