Last Sunday the citizens of Freiburg (South-West Germany) stopped the sale of local housing planned by mayor Dieter Salomon (Greens). At a local referendum which had been organized by a peoples’ initiative called “Housing is Human Right”, 70.5% of the voters voted against plans to sell 79,00 of 89,00 municipal housing units. Also the legally prescribed quorum of 25% of the voters was reached.
As a result, the municipality has to stop the privatization of housing for at least the next three years. Tenants’ organizations in Germany welcomed the decision as a signal to politicians all over Germany.
“Politicians who want to sell housing stocks are acting against the interests of the majority of the citizens. This is the Freiburg signal to politicians in Germany “, Franz George Rips, director of the German Tenants Federation (DMB) said today. “The citizens and tenants in the cities resist by protests and demonstrations against the housing sales. A housing policy against the interests of the large majority of the citizens must fail.“
The People’s Initiative for Safe Homes and Jobs in NRW welcomed the Freiburg decision as an encouragement for the campaign against the sales of the country owned LEG.
Witten Tenants Association congratulated the Freiburg movement, commenting that: “The citizens do not want to sacrifice a policy of short term plugging of budget gaps at the cost of long-term housing security and public goods. Municipalities need their dwellings in order to fulfill for their obligations on sustainable housing provision and social cities. Instead of liquidating the public local housing industry we need it’s stabilization and strengthening.“