Our help does not arrive

Ms. Becker, a lot has been going on about this for months station district talked. They are there every day. How is the situation?

What we are experiencing is that people in a very desolate condition are out on the streets at all times of the day and night. They sometimes fall asleep on the road at night. Our employees will then persuade them to at least lie down on the sidewalk. Our employees can often not do more. That’s the real problem in the station district: our help isn’t getting through. This is the problem we should focus on.

Nothing has changed since the summer?

In our view, the situation may have even worsened. The discussion is always about how the district can become cleaner, how supposed conflicts can be defused or how addicts can be disciplined or even driven out. Now the possibilities to stay in the station district have been reduced again. The consequence is that our clients have to stay on the street. The night café, for example, is now closed early in the morning at the weekend – so the general conditions have gotten even worse.

How can conditions get worse?

Given the misery on the streets, that’s an apt question. But the conditions are basically constantly deteriorating. We still have the situation that the health care of our clients is not sufficient, often they are simply not admitted to hospitals. Their residence status is often unclear. All you have to do is stay in the station district to try to survive somehow. You only get survival aid. These are all framework conditions that urgently need to be changed. Only then is it possible to offer needs-based help.

Seeing the misery on the streets every day: Gabi Becker, head of the integrative drug help Frankfurt

Seeing the misery on the streets every day: Gabi Becker, head of the integrative drug help Frankfurt

Image: Lucas Bäuml

Where is the biggest supply gap?

In medical care. The city has already launched offers such as low-threshold substitution for people who are not entitled to benefits and humanitarian consultations as emergency care. But there is more to it than that: Many clients in the station district need real medical treatment for concomitant diseases. Many also need psychiatric care. Addicted people don’t have family doctors. In clinics, they are discharged as quickly as possible according to the principle “outpatient before inpatient”, especially since hospitals do not handle the challenging behavior of our clientele well. In our facilities, we see people being wheeled out to us in surgical gowns. There are no options in Frankfurt for people with addictions who need nursing care. Addicts are simply not included in standard nursing care. At the Eastside, for example, we have clients in wheelchairs – but no elevators. And as an emergency shelter, we don’t have any nursing staff. You are here anyway, because there is nothing else – and after us comes only the road.

The scene is concentrated above all in the station district. Why are the aid organizations concentrated there?

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