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Largest housing concern in Germany sees growth in migrant tenants

Around one in ten new tenants of the largest housing company in Germany comes either from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. And their CEO sees room for growth.

Published: May 18, 2019, 1:15 pm

    It was estimated by the chairman of the housing company Vonovia, Rolf Buch, that “In the last two years, we have leased around ten percent of the vacant apartments to people from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq”. Buch spoke at the general meeting of the listed company on May 16.

    This figure, according to Buch, really reveals “how closely we are connected to the topic of migration”.

    But the social environment is increasingly threatened by “selfishness,” Buch warned. “It is therefore important to develop and maintain neighbourhoods. This is especially true where people with a different cultural background meet old people. This has an impact on social coexistence and the image of the neighbourhoods. ”

    Vonovia is the largest private landlord in Germany with around 490 000 residential units and four billion euro in turnover.

    Another German housing company European Homecare, that has been working for the government to provide asylum shelters, is also happy about the business opportunity that migration has brought about. “We’re doing something some people consider dirty: we make money,” said company spokesman Klaus Kocks.

    With some 1000 staff caring for 15 000 migrants across the state, the company has become a major player in the immigration industrial complex. Cash starved mayors and officials often find a privately run-company more attractive.

    But some private sector contractors are “cowboys who are only there because they want to make heaps of money”, Marie Sallnäs, professor of social work at Stockholm University, told the Guardian in 2015.

    The German CDU economic politician Joachim Pfeiffer has criticized the “all-round supply state” in his country. “We shower people with money and they are still not satisfied,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine. Germany is investing too much in its “social climate”.

    From 2013 to today, social spending in the federal budget has risen from 145 billion euros to 180 billion euros, which is 56 percent of the total budget. “We have a real imbalance in household expenditure,” lamented Pfeiffer.

    In the event of a renewed economic crisis, the Bundestag member fears cuts in the wrong places. “Once an economic slump returns, my concern is that we must radically cut back on research and investment.”

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