The Tagestreff in the Diakonie Centre Weser5 is for many homeless a vital lifeline. We caught up with Qutaiba al Jendi to get the low down.
Hello, Qutaiba! How long have you been working at Diakonie Centre Weser 5?
What’s your role?
I would say a large part of my role is communication. Many visitors have trouble with German and English. As I can speak Romanian and Arabic I can build up trust with them. It also helps to accelerate bureaucratic processes such as registrations and the completion of specific documents.
What is a typical work day like for you?
We are a home and a place of refuge for those in need. Every visitors’ circumstances are different and they all require personalised support. I am in constant contact with other agencies and organisations. A lot of what I do is to determine what sort of help a person needs and to send them in the right direction. Be that a doctor, a potential employer, housing association or maybe even a way back to family members.
What kind of services and resources to you offer?
We offer a home for those who don’t have one. Everyone needs a place where they feel comfortable, where they can relax, store belongings, have access to hygiene facilities and food. We offer a daily routine of breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. Everything is cooked fresh on site. Visitors can shower and change their clothes; they can access the internet and make calls. There is even a small library where they can kick back with a book. Most importantly it is a space where they can take a break from the street.
Where do the homeless come from?
We have visitors from all over the world. Many from Eastern Europe but also from China, Africa, south America and beyond. Everyone has a personal story and the circumstances vary widely.
What is the current situation?
Of course, the situation has become more complex since the reality of Covid-19. Previously we had between 150 and 200 visitors per day. Now we can only host 50 at any given time. We all have to wear masks and we have to follow social distancing and disinfection rules. However, we continue to provide a winter emergency overnight space for those who really need it.
Are there other organisations like yours in Frankfurt?
Yes! There are many organisations in Frankfurt tasked with looking after the homeless. Our focus is ‘Tagestreff’ or daily meet. Other organisations provide over night solutions or are more focused on helping drug users.
What motivates you?
I get a lot of satisfaction from helping others. It is important to know that I am making a difference and that the situation can be improved.
What can we do to help?
We always need warm winter clothes. Especially for men as the majority of our visitors are men. However, if you feel like making a donation please make sure the clothes are clean and in good condition.