The active role of homeless citizens in Germany. The case of the Initiative Bauen Wohnen Arbeiten in Cologne. Countless organizations are working in the homeless sector; nevertheless, Germany has 1.2 million citizens living this reality every day. Solutions normally range from emergency charity services to quick-fixes, such as temporary accommodation.

This thesis work was based on 1) recognizing housing as a human right and the starting point for ending homelessness, not the ending goal; and 2) that permanent fixes can only be achieved by practicing a human-centered approach and including “experts by experience” (people with lived homelessness experience) as active actors in the development of solutions.

When facing a systemic issue as it is homelessness, there is a need for interventions at multiple levels from individually-focused solutions to large-scale social policies. Thus, the outcome of this thesis contemplated on the first hand, the construction of the IBWA model easy to replicate, based on the Initiative Bauen Wohnen Arbeiten in Cologne. And last but not least, a set of Principles developed by and with the “Self-representation of homeless people” to guide the collaboration hand by hand between service providers, policymakers and homeless citizens.

Vanessa Espinosa Ureta
Master of Arts Integrated Design