A refugee tells his story! Germany and the obstacle to the search for housing…

Leaving the temporary residence center and obtaining private housing is a priority for refugees. But it’s not easy, the housing market is very tight. Munich is one such example, as one of the most expensive cities in the country.

“My daughter started biting her nails. According to the doctor, the reason for this behavior is due to the situation here, and the pressure in the center,” says Sabun Minanak as he and his wife, Zma, and the two of them in a small room in a refugee reception center sat in Munich. -year-old daughter.

The family fled Afghanistan in February. “The situation has become very dangerous,” explains Saboon. He worked in Kabul in the Afghan Ministry of Health, while his wife worked with various NGOs and ministries to promote women’s rights in the country. With the help of a German journalist they met in Kabul, the couple was able to reach Germany and obtain refugee status.

I appeal to the people of Munich: This small family from Afghanistan is looking for a two-room apartment in Munich. The rent is guaranteed and paid every month by Jobcenter (the employment agency). This is what the journalist wrote in a tweet on her personal Twitter account when she visited the family last June. This tweet sparked racist comments denouncing the privileges granted to refugees.

“In Kabul, we used to live in a neighborhood near the city center, in a large apartment where we could receive guests,” says Saboon. We lived with my parents, who had their own room.”

Now the family is looking for an apartment in Munich, the city with the highest average rent in Germany, well ahead of Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg.

“Out of 30 or 40 requests that were sent, we only got one positive response,” Saboon said with regret. “I often look on Ebay, write in English and translate my email into German. Some people don’t accept our rent because we don’t speak German. Regardless of our constant explanation to them that we attend lessons and this language cannot be learned in five months.”

Sabawun Minanak, his wife Wazma and their daughter Sarah

fifteen square meters

The 22-year-old Afghan also believes that the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, who are also seeking housing, creates competition between people fleeing the violence.

“Some of our neighbors here told us that, after reaching an agreement with the landlords, they were called back a few days later to inform them that the housing was rented to Ukrainians.”

Sappoon just got a job as a hotel receptionist, where he works at night, takes German lessons and takes care of his daughter during the day when his wife is away. Saboon suffers from a lack of sleep.

Their room is about 15 square meters, with beds on one side of the room and a table and cupboard on the other side. About 100 people live in the center in the north-east of Munich.

The family has been living in this small room since February
The family has been living in this small room since February

Saboon explained about the current temporary housing conditions: “The place is well located, close to shops and the subway station. But there are 5 washing machines for general use, one kitchen and one bathroom for twenty beds. Sometimes you have to wait three to four hours to get food.”

“We are looking for a two-room apartment of 75 square meters. That’s what we can get from the Action Center, and that’s the maximum space they support.”

(Job Center) is an employment agency that supports rent for low-income people. The amounts vary from city to city in Germany. In Munich, a family of three can subsidize an apartment of up to 75 square meters and costs 1084 euros per month. In Berlin, for example, the subsidy is €634 for a house of no more than 80 square meters. In Cologne, this area is supported up to 939 euros. In addition, there is a subsidy for electricity and heating costs.

Only eight results

“But most owners do not want to rent their homes to people who depend on the office, even though the rental costs will be guaranteed,” explains Saboon.

In addition to the discrimination factor, the job center process is time-consuming because once accommodations are found, support still needs to validate transactions, which contributes to candidate exclusion.

“Even an apartment of 50 square meters would be good for us,” says Saboon. We don’t ask much. We only need the basics to live.”

Saboon knows that the hope of getting a 75 square meter apartment for 1,084 euros is almost impossible. At the time of writing, a search with these criteria on immobilienscout24.de, one of Germany’s leading property websites, showed only eight results in Munich.

This situation is unlikely to improve with rising energy prices, especially the gas on which most German homes rely.

The newspaper (Süddeutsche Zeitung) notes that “the search for a home is likely to become more complicated soon” as the number of building permits issued in Munich decreases, while the time required to build new homes increases.

Le center d'hébergement se trouve au north-est de München / Photo : Sabawoon Meenanak
Le center d’hébergement se trouve au north-est de München / Photo

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