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German City Sends Homeless Home

Officials in the German city of Hamburg are banning homeless eastern Europeans from shelters to keep places free for German down and outs.

Officials say that only one in four of the 1,000 plus homeless they are having to deal with is German, with the rest mainly from Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania.

Last winter Hamburg spent close to a million on the 362 homeless shelter places it offers.

Hamburg social minister Detlef Scheele from the SPD said: "The Emergency bed programme, especially in winter, is aimed at those who live permanently in Hamburg, and in extreme temperatures need shelter."

He added: "We don't want to see people lured to Hamburg with false promises and then stranded here. But without qualifications and German, they have no chance of work on the local job market."

These people, he said, should be helped to go home.

He also said to get a place the homeless would be filtered and approved from now on - those that failed would be given train tickets home - but they would not be allowed in the shelters. So far 250 had been sent home with the tickets paid by local social services.

Hamburg social services spokesman Nicole Serocka said: "We want to provide a real emergency shelter for the needy and not simply a cheap place to stay the night for anyone that turns up and asks for it."

Diakonie boss Gabi Brasch criticised the statement, claiming: "We have a duty to give these people a shelter in Hamburg, regardless of their passport or choice of place of living."

They emphasized that nobody should be turned away in the extreme cold - and it would be better to try and integrate these people into society.

German Herald

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