Our house! Homeless people of Cologne help themselves

A film by Susanne Böhm and Tarja Kühne
Commissioned by SWR
ARTE Re

Homeless people occupy a house in Cologne in the middle of the Corona pandemic. Their vision: to live and work together. With a registration address and a work contract, they hope to find a way back into the social system. The Cologne municipality wants to evict them, but the squatters find a lot of support for their project.

Because the city has a problem: almost 6,200 people live on the streets here. Across Europe, the number of homeless people is rising dramatically: Most recently, it was estimated at 700,000 - that's an increase of 70 percent within the last ten years.
André knows life without a roof over his head - nine years has lived on the street, then he took matters into his own hands and occupied a vacant office building on the Cologne wholesale market. His idea: homeless people and also Polish migrant workers should live and work here in a self-managed way. That's how Thorsten and Ryszard found their way to the OMZ, which stands for "Homeless with a Future. Finally a roof over their heads, a door that can be locked. Thorsten finds support here, even discovers his artistic vein and begins to paint. Ryszard has a family again, the Polish community in the house. For the city administration, the occupation is a breach of law; the house has been evicted several times. Pastor Hans Mörtter, on the other hand, sees the OMZ as a pilot project for other cities: on the street, the law of the strongest applies; in the house, the residents must learn to solve conflicts with words. Will they manage to live out their dream of self-managed living in the long term?

Editing: Esther Saoub
Camera: Tarja Kühne, Julia Baumann
Editing: Kawe Vakil

TV-Premiere:
17.12. 2020 at 19.40, ARTE

Related links:
Our House on Youtube!