I sat in a German language class yesterday, which of course of composed of all non-Germans. We had sub-teacher....because the flu thing is going on strong.
So in the middle of this class, we come to this topic area of homelessness or street-people in Germany. It was a side-topic and you find side-topics pop up at least once per hour in these language classes.
After the sub-teacher had done some short chat....the Syrian in the group asked a direct question. With all this 'free-assistance' that Germany has.....why can't they help to take the street-people or the homeless guys....off the streets? Obviously, this person had noted the dynamics of the German assistance program and like most of the people in the room....was extremely positive over the German culture.
You could sense that she'd picked a topic that triggered the sub-teacher into pausing for a moment.
If I were to answer, it'd be some hour-long explanation about the street-people, the guys who live under bridges, the Tipplebruder adventurers, etc.
The sub-teacher lead to just a simple explanation....this group of people liked living on the streets. It was their kind of atmosphere.
I don't think the group really bought into the explanation. For me, it was a marginal answer to explain the phonenmum.
About eight years ago, I arrived in the Washington DC area and one of the odd characteristics of the region are the various homeless folks....lots of them. After coming back to Germany, I began to notice the same trends here....perhaps in lesser numbers, but still noticeable.
I've come to this observation that you can divide the street-folks or homeless folks into five categories:
1. The individual who whacked themselves out on drugs or booze....to the extent that it's affected their ability to reason or think. So they live in some halfway-world, with little stress or demands.
2. The individual who had a trade or craft that marginally worked in real life, and with one single stumble....they 'fell'. If the resources, coaching and help were to be put into place....this group could return and be productive people in society.
3. The paranoid schizophrenic crowd. These are the people who know that they might be put into some institution because they really can't control themselves. So they live off the street....mostly to enjoy what freedom they have left.
4. The weeded-out crowd. This is the group that felt stress and pressure....reaching a relief point with marijuana, and relied upon to be the end-all answer to their problems. So they eased themselves out of a job eventually and are basically unable to cope with a normal world....and this street-world is pretty simple and uncomplicated.
5. The nuts crowd. These are certified folks who are just plain crazy and the free lifestyle is their last chance in life before being detained or permanently put away.
The problem here....if you tried to explain this to the non-German crowd, they'd be in mostly disbelief. You didn't see much of this issue in Syria or Iraq. Course, they had facilities to house mental folks, and the leadership through the decades utilized the facilities. They also hyped up a anti-alcohol and anti-drug philosophy. And there's just not any marijuana much in that region. So they had less of a problem to deal with or notice in a public episode.
For some reason, I don't think the sub-teacher's answer will resolve much for these 'new' Germans.