Accommodation and living in the Märkisches Viertel – an integrative living accommodation project for Roma families
In 2014, the district authority of Reinickendorf approached GESOBAU AG in order to discuss a housing project for improving the precarious living conditions of Roma families from south-eastern Europe, as part of the “Berlin action plan for the integration of Roma from other countries”. At that time, problems accessing the normal housing market was causing many Roma families in the district to “hop” from one district to another, particularly due to regulatory procedures (expulsion from campsites), as a result of which it became difficult to enable the children to attend school on a regular basis, and initial successes in terms of local integration were rendered void. GESOBAU AG was open to the idea. The large Märkisches Viertel housing estate was selected as the site where the programme was to be realised, since the area offers a large number of advantages for implementing the housing project. The project initiators from the municipal authority and the Senate were responsible for coordinating the preparation of a concept that required a great deal of time and a large amount of experience in dealing with the administrative bureaucracy. In the meantime, GESOBAU AG made sure that all staff in the Märkisches Viertel customer centre were given the chance to discuss the risks and opportunities that the project entailed with other housing associations and with the institutions involved. In a joint discussion with 30 customer support providers and the future project partners, as well as representatives of the housing concepts for Roma families that had already been tested in Berlin, the housing project was presented and critically explained. Staff at GESOBAU had the possibility of hearing first-hand about the living situation among the Roma community, and for their part were able to describe their experience of renting out accommodation. The housing project was welcomed by all colleagues, since it was clear that with the project, an increase in know-how, improved access to tenant groups (the target group and neighbourhoods) and to new formal and informal networks through the partnership with non-profit groups (and native speaker social workers) would likely result for the district and the Senate, which would be a reliable resource if conflict situations were to arise.
Modalidad Building strategic alliances, fostering community participation
Wilhelmsruher Damm 142
13439 - Berlin