The Association of North German Housing Companies (VNW) fears problems with the implementation of the housing benefit reform in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Association President Andreas Breitner called on Sunday to set up central housing benefit offices. There are currently 121 housing benefit offices in the country that, in addition to their normal work, are supposed to cope with the onslaught of new people entitled to housing benefit. The state government itself expects around 76,000 future beneficiaries to more than triple the number of households that will be entitled to housing benefit at the beginning of the new year.
According to Breitner, experts warn that many beneficiaries will have to wait several months for the money they are entitled to because the individual housing benefit offices are overburdened. As a result, many municipalities are currently unable to fill advertised positions in the housing benefit offices. "This is chaos with an announcement," criticized Breitner. "Especially in January and February, when financially weak households need more money because of increased heating costs, they will not receive it."
From Breitner's point of view, it would make sense to temporarily create a central office in each of the six districts and Rostock. In order to get enough staff, retired civil servants should be specifically approached. "If that is not enough, aid organizations and - as in the case of Corona - the Bundeswehr could be asked for personnel support."
His impression is that in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the state government is abdicating its responsibility and leaving the implementation of the housing benefit reform to the municipalities, which are already burdened with the property tax reform. "But it's not enough to talk about social participation in Sunday speeches and leave people out in the rain during the week."
Breitner warned the state government against leaving the housing companies alone with the worries and problems of their tenants. "Our member companies have promised that no one will lose their home if the heating bill cannot be paid." It also makes sense for people to talk to their landlord at an early stage if they have problems. "But that doesn't mean that the state will reflexively give up at an early stage without ambition and abandon the landlords, who are oriented towards the common good, with the existential concerns of their tenants."
According to the VNW, it represents 406 housing cooperatives and housing companies in Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein. Around 1.5 million people live in the 686,000 apartments they manage.