ARTE Regards – Poor housing: living in containers – Watch the full documentary

ARTE Regards – Poor housing: living in containers – Watch the full documentary
ARTE Regards – Poor housing: living in containers – Watch the full documentary

The scourge of poor housing does not spare Germany. Across the Rhine, those excluded from the real estate market are forced to fall back on caravans and containers. In Berlin-Lichtenberg, a camp sheltered nearly 200 people for a long time before the district town hall ordered its dismantling, leaving most of them in complete destitution.

Micah, a fifty-year-old who has lived on the streets on several occasions, has occupied a container of barely 15 square meters for a year and uses shared toilets and showers. Despite this promiscuity, he feels good in this place which welcomes those who do not fit the mold. Every month, he pays rent which includes water and electricity charges: 500 euros, or more than 30 euros per square meter! The Jobcenter (job search center) covers this rent and related costs. A lucrative business for the owner of the land who has installed around thirty caravans and 90 containers.

Laura, 27, works in a call center. With his meager salary, it was impossible to access Berlin’s real estate stock. She wonders what she could have done wrong to be forced to live in a container. However, rental rents have doubled over the last ten years. And in Berlin alone, there is a shortage of more than 130,000 social housing units.

The housing crisis has been a real windfall for the operator of the “Trailerpark”. He had installed caravans and containers on a plot of land intended for industrial use. In November 2023, the district town hall decided to evacuate the illegal and unsanitary camp. Forced to leave the premises even though they have a rental lease, Micha and many other residents are bitter. What will happen to them after the evacuation? The documentary follows four people for whom housing in Berlin is almost out of reach.

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