Berlin, Germany

Kristina and the Artzmobil team

Berlin is facing one of the coldest winters in years – with temperatures falling below freezing. This winter, the Sheltersuit Foundation teamed up with Arztmobil (a mobile doctor’s van initiative), a programme organised by Caritas, to provide Sheltersuits to Berlin’s most vulnerable individuals.

Production: Anorak Film
Cinematography: Greta Isabella Conte
26-02-2021
Est. 4 minutes

Berlin is facing one of the coldest winters in years – with temperatures falling below freezing. Survival on the streets has become a tour de force for the homeless. Berlin’s few shelters cannot accommodate the large unsheltered community currently living under her bridges.

In 2020, Germany recorded 860.000 people who were without a home. This winter, the Sheltersuit Foundation teamed up with Arztmobil (a mobile doctor’s van initiative), a program organized by Caritas, to provide Sheltersuits to Berlin’s most vulnerable individuals.

Through the Caritas Arztmobil initiative, Kristina and her colleagues provide medical aid to the homeless and now, well acquainted with Sheltersuit, she distributes the jackets to her clients – all of whom are unsheltered members of the community.

We spent two days on the road with Kristina and her colleague Theresa, to get to know the community they serve. Many of their clients have been living on the streets for numerous years and are dependant on social outreach programmes such as this one.

“Some days you take it home with you and you feel emotionally exhausted.”

Kristina, Artzmobil team Berlin

“That is the art in this work. Establishing trust. Sometimes a conversation is worth more than any pill.”

Theresa, Artzmobil team Berlin

With a solidaric new partnership between Caritas and Sheltersuit, our mission to provide warmth to Germany’s homeless community is finally being realised.

In the past month, together with Arztmobil and Caritas Berlin, we were able to provide 80 desperately needed Sheltersuits to Berlin’s most vulnerable.

Caritas has set up a fundraiser to donate towards this mission, which you can continue to support here:

https://www.caritas-berlin.de/sheltersuit


Jeanette (44) is originally from Bonn in Germany and has been homeless for the past twelve years with short stays at various shelters. Last year she made the move to Berlin.

Jeanette still struggles with alcoholism but with an infectious, positive perspective on life, she has found the support she needs from the small community of people she camps with, beneath the bridge of the Berlin Train Station at Bahnhof Zoo.

It is here that Jeanette has also met her new partner, who brings her great happiness despite their current life situations.

Jeanette

Sebastian (35) has been living on the street ever since losing his job a year ago. He is a member of the homeless community which camps with Jeanette, beneath the bridge of the Berlin Train Station at Bahnhof Zoo.

Theresa’s story about Reinhard

Theresa has dedicated many years to charity work. Originally from Cologne, she joined the Caritas force to continue working with the truly vulnerable.

Over the years, Theresa has built relationships with many of her unsheltered clients – all of them incredibly dear to her.

She shared a story with us about Reinhard (69), a friend in the homeless community, who whilst sheltering at the Innsbrucker Platz bus station, went missing.

Konrad

The Maybach Ufer in Berlin-Kreuzberg is just one of many places where Berlin’s homeless have gathered to build their winter shelters.

A number of the homeless live in tents, and have tried to create a safe space that they can call home. One of them is Konrad, a kind and humble man who lost his apartment just before Christmas and now has contend with and navigate a life on the streets of Berlin.

He shared with us the story of how people cruelly destroyed his tent, leaving what little he had left, completely ruined.

We met Isbah and Gaspar, seeking shelter and rest on the Moabiter Brücke bridge in Berlin. Far from home, both had traveled from Romania to secure informal employment on construction sites – anything which would provide a place to stay.

With Covid, many of these illegitimate businesses closed and people found themselves without work and shelter.

Sitting on the bridge with nothing more than a blanket, Gaspar shared that he had three children, with fourth on the way and, like Isbah, longed to return home to Romania.

Help people like Konrad & Sebastian

With your periodic donation, we can continue to produce sustainable Sheltersuits, create more jobs and offer warmth and dignity to the most vulnerable people.

Donate now

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About this project

For this ongoing project, we engage with unhoused communities in various cities, amidst an unbiased global pandemic. The intimate documentary reflects the unraveling of society and exposes the equal measures of strength and vulnerability of each of its characters.

By capturing these raw moments in a new light, we challenge the mainstream representation of an ever-increasing, forgotten group of individuals. It reminds us that people who experience homelessness should neither be labeled nor disregarded. Each person has a story to tell.