As Germany suffers from rising poverty rates, homelessness levels rose by almost 30,000 people between 2017 and 2018, according to new government figures, as people with migrant background have been among the most affected.
According to Germany's federal group for aiding homelessness, the Federal Association for the Support of the Homeless (BAGW), some 678,000 people in 2018 did not have permanent accommodation, up from 650,000 in 2017. That rise “means an increase in the total annual figure of 4.2%,” as reported by Deutsche Welle. The figures also revealed that the homelessness levels are much more dramatic for people with a migrant background. Homelessness rate for Germans went up by only 1.2%, while it increased 5.9% for those with a migrant background.
In late 2018, BAGW estimated that the number of homeless people in Germany had exceeded 1 million for the first time.
Germany is known as the European Union's locomotive with its robust economy and record-breaking foreign trade. However, despite economic growth, the country has seen an unprecedented poverty rate. Almost 20% of Germany's population, or 16 million people, were at risk of poverty in 2016, the Federal Statistics Office reported last year. The increasing number of those living in shelters has been driven by rising rents, decreasing availability of subsidized housing and the growing numbers of refugees granted asylum status who are therefore entitled to housing, according to the homelessness association.