We help ourselves – Self-Empowerment in Stuttgart and Cologne changes the city

Self-Empowerment in Stuttgart und Köln verändert die Stadt
Ein Film von Susanne Böhm und Uwe Kassai
Eine Produktion für den SWR in der Reihe Echtes Leben

What happens when people who are homeless or houseless begin to help themselves?

A year ago, homeless André, Polish migrant worker Richard and 30 other homeless people occupied a vacant office building in Cologne. They call their project "Homeless with a Future" - OMZ for short. 'Living and working together' is their vision. Each individual and all together are responsible for the success or failure of their common idea. They experience that they can make a difference. Pastor Mörtter mediates with the city. After several attempts to evict them, the administration commits itself to supporting the project, but still insists on demolishing the house. What will happen to the residents? Will the alternative building be suitable for the residents' work projects and visions?

When, due to Corona, the food banks for the needy close, Harry and Iva start a mobile food supply for substitutes under the Paulinenbrücke in Stuttgart. The more visible and active the group becomes, the more support they receive. This is how "Harry's Bude" came into being, a self-organized food distribution for foodsharing donations, on the grounds of the parish of St. Maria next door, with Harry as the organizer. Iva plans to organize the women on the street in parallel. When an office building across from "Harry's Bude" becomes vacant, it is taken as a hint of fate to set up a warming house here. But even the welfare institutions and parts of St. Maria's refuse, because it is not usual for this clientele to act on their own, let alone make demands. But the "Paule Club," as they call themselves, has long since found its voice in the city and remains stubborn - even without a street worker if necessary, despite police reprisals and the public order office.

Editing: Katrin Grünewald (SWR)

About Thurnfilm

THURN FILM, an independent production company for documentary films,
was founded in 2003 by Valentin Thurn.

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