A safe place to stay for three months

Patrick Elefant looks to the future with hope: he can take advantage of the "assisted living" option at Haus Sankt Martin in Hattersheim for three months. © Caritas Association Main-Taunus

Living safely for three months: For Patrick Elefant, that’s a reason to look to the future with hope. The 41-year-old is currently taking advantage of "assisted living" at the Caritas facility for the homeless, Haus Sankt Martin in Hattersheim. When he became unemployed as a cook at the beginning of his time at Corona, his apartment was also terminated as a consequence. Since then he has been homeless. As he tells it, he has experienced and learned a lot during this time, not least about the survival tactics of homeless people in Germany. Like many homeless people, he has spent the last few years organizing his life from one overnight stay to the next in emergency shelters. Although most counties and cities have relaxed the rule that a person without a fixed abode is paid the "daily allowance" to which he is entitled for a limited period of time in one place. Still, even then, it was an organizational challenge for him to plan a change of location.

Queuing for a bed to sleep in

"You can call the various accommodations and ask if there is a place for the night, but none is reserved," Patrick Elefant learned, "first come, first served. Most of the accommodations have only a few beds available – it’s a battle at about 12 o’clock who gets them!" It’s often difficult to make it to the next shelter so quickly that you’re at the front of the queue, he says. "You also have to eat, so you can’t leave your last accommodation very early" he explains, "and you have to see if you have enough money for public transportation. A daily rate is about 14 euros at the moment – if I had a place to stay in Bingen from Hattersheim, for example, then I needed about ten euros to get there. In most accommodations, an overnight stay costs one or two euros, as does breakfast, or coffee costs 50 cents. And one should pay in the next accommodation also again something for staying overnight."

"Make a plate" is not his thing

If one still used the possibility of washing for two euros, then one must already calculate sharply how much one can spend for drinks and food during the day. "A lot of people say homeless people drive black anyway," he knows, "but that’s not true. Only because I am homeless, I am not criminal nevertheless."He used to walk 20 kilometers to save money, but with luggage it’s exhausting and exhausting. "Thank God I’ve been vaccinated" he says, referring to the 3G rule in public transport. One problem was also the time in lockdown when public toilets were closed. "I once asked at a gas station if I could go to the bathroom there and fill my water bottle," Patrick Elefant recalls, "but they just said I could buy drinks from them."Standing in front of the supermarket with a cup or "making a record" under a highway bridge is something he has already done, but that is not his thing. "You also want to wash in the morning and have clean clothes."

The hurdles for homeless people are high

Anne Domachowski-Schneider and Stefanie Eichler from Haus St. Martin knows all these problems: "The overnight stays in emergency shelters are supposed to be a low-threshold offer, but for homeless people such hurdles are nevertheless high," they think, "and that is also bad from a social work point of view. When you’re busy doing things like this, how can you worry about finding a place to live or a job??"Tackling this will only work when homeless people no longer have to worry about where to stay the next day. Only when you have "tied up", you can really take care of it, the social workers know. "In Haus St. Martin we cannot offer clients an apartment, but we have the possibility to use one of the six beds available to us for a limited time – usually for three months – for the "assisted living" offer."

Finally reading apartment ads and job offers

Patrick Elefant had already asked in June 2021 whether he could use this opportunity in Hattersheim, since mid-December he now lives in the house St. Martin. This not only relieves him of the worry of finding a place to sleep, it also enabled him to register in Hattersheim and he now receives his mail at this address. "It’s also great that you can read the newspaper here in the morning, that you have a laptop at your disposal and can access the Internet," thinks Patrick Elefant, "there I can finally read the apartment ads and job offers regularly as well." Another important aspect: Only with a permanent residence he can change in the Main-Taunus-Kreis from the daily allowance to the permanent receipt of his social benefits.

Goals for the next time

With all this in mind, he has set his goals for the near future: "Now I’m working on finding a place to live and a job!" He hopes that his new housing situation will have an effect on his job search. "I would very much like to work as a cook again, in the past people always said about me: he can cook, the boy!", he explains proudly. In the house St. Martin gets support to achieve his goals. "Together we looked at exactly what our goals were and how we could achieve them," says Anne Domachowski-Schneider. "The cost unit Landeswohlfahrtsverband requires that a written target agreement be concluded with those who are cared for in this way. There is then a plan for help to overcome special social difficulties as an orientation."

"I know that I need the help and I will accept it gladly also" assures Patrick elephant confidently, after all he can unload in the house Saint Martin its "whole ballast" first times. "Maybe I’ll even be able to please my old employer again," he hopes, "after all, we parted on good terms."He is especially happy that he was able to "save" the USB stick with his resume and photos "still with good haircut and so" through the time of homelessness.

Landlord for homeless people wanted

To the whole team of the house St. Martin is very concerned that people like Patrick Elefant also get a chance to have their own place. Also facility manager Klaus sturgeon stands very much behind this desire: Who would like to give as a landlord also homeless humans a chance, which can contact us very gladly under the telephone number 06190 935712 in connection get!" he offers.

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