In brief

About the project

In the last ten years, average asking rents in Berlin have more than doubled. Subsequently, tenants with low and average incomes are being placed under increasing economic pressure. Hundreds of thousands of flats in Berlin are owned by large housing companies that promise increasing returns for their shareholders. This is associated with commercial pressures that demand price-raising strategies like rent increases that disadvantage tenants. As a result, many tenants are forced to leave their familiar neighborhood or live in overcrowded flats. Even the energy modernization of apartment buildings, which is necessary for climate protection, causes financial difficulties for tenants and often leads to displacement
One problem is that tenants are unaware of their rights, become isolated due to existential concerns and no community involvement occurs. Tenants usually only have a say in municipal and cooperative housing associations (Wohnungsgesellschaften), but not in many other neighborhoods.
The aim of the “Kiezprojekt” (neighborhood project) in Berlin is to find a solution to this social and ecological housing crisis. The Kiezprojekt project aims to empower tenants to know their rights and demand a say in the handling of the housing crisis. Using community organizing methods, tenants in specific neighborhoods with large housing stocks are supported to build strong communities together and take collective action.
The project is a cooperation between the Berlin Tenants’ Association, AG Starthilfe and the non-profit platform Movement Hub and is funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation.

In detail

Why are we supporting this project?

Due to the housing crisis in Berlin, people on low and average incomes in particular are increasingly threatened by displacement. They can no longer find affordable housing in their neighborhoods, and resignation and isolation are increasing in these areas. Around half of Berliners now spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent. Housing is therefore increasingly becoming the "social issue of our time". Additionally, there is a need to modernize buildings due to the climate crisis. The building sector is responsible for over 30 per cent of emissions in Germany and the energy/efficient modernization of rental properties is in urgently needed. However, this often leads to economic problems and displacement for many tenants, as they bear the majority of the costs. The Kiezprojekt aims to contribute to finding a solution to the social and ecological housing crisis in Berlin.

What are our goals?

Through the Kiezprojekt, tenants will learn about their rights and take collective action to defend themselves against high rents and displacement. The project aims to create strong communities of tenants who demand a say in the design of their neighborhoods and can act sustainably in the long term. Furthermore, the tenants are supported in advocating for the socially responsible and energy-efficient modernization of their apartment buildings, thus developing solutions to the climate crisis that can act as a role model for other stakeholders.

How does the project work?

The Kiezprojekt team consists of full-time organizers who work together with volunteers to support tenants in the local area. Committed tenants who want to establish networks in their neighborhood are given advice and support by the Kiezprojekt to help them set up tenant associations. Its focus is on community organizing methods such as 1:1 meetings on doorsteps, holding tenant meetings, and building proactive groups. Training and further education for active tenants are a central aspect of the project to empower people to stand up for their rights.

Where does the project take place?

The neighborhood project takes place in Berlin. The districts of Lichtenberg, Pankow, Neukölln, Tempelhof-Schöneberg and Steglitz-Zehlendorf have been selected as "beacon districts" (Leuchtturmbezirke).

Who is behind the project?

The Kiezprojekt is a cooperation between the Berlin Tenants’ Association (Berliner Mietverein), AG Starthilfe, and the platform Movement Hub. The Berlin Tenants’ Association contributes its legal and housing policy expertise to the project. AG Starthilfe—which emerged from the Berlin renters’ movement—is sharing its many years of experience with community organizing methods and practices. The non-profit platform Movement Hub is responsible for the administrative side of the project.

Your Contacts

Hannah Meyer
Senior Project Manager
Phone+49 30 220025-441
e-mail to Hannah Meyer
Carol Peterson
Movement Hub
e-mail to Carol Peterson