Therese Obeck (32) and her team manage the two daily meetings on Reicker and Mathildenstrasse.  More helpers are welcome.
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First frost and high heating costs: rush to Dresden’s warm rooms

By Roland Kaiser

Dresden – The day meeting of the Salvation Army or the night cafes of dresden Church communities primarily serve as a place of refuge for the homeless. Due to rising prices, more and more people with permanent residence are joining them who want or have to put on the brakes when heating.

Therese Obeck (32) and her team manage the two daily meetings on Reicker and Mathildenstrasse. More helpers are welcome. © Eric Munch

Therese Obeck (32) knows what a cold apartment feels like. “When the heating system failed in the middle of winter, shortly after the birth of my daughter six years ago, the temperature in the room was no more than twelve degrees,” she recalls of one of the rather less pleasant days of her life.

“Because you just couldn’t get that cold out of your body.” For this reason alone she shows understanding for those who are looking for a warm place elsewhere due to the explosion in energy costs.

One of these is the daily Salvation Army meeting point on Reicker Strasse, which she manages and heats to about 20 degrees. From Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., visitors can get a warm meal there.

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Welm Nikolai (67) picks up his bread ration. At home, the pensioner says, he leaves the radiators off for a variety of reasons. He warms up briefly, then we continue.

Welm Nikolai (67) once came to the Elbe from Kazakhstan.  The heating in his apartment often stays cold.  The reason is austerity.

Welm Nikolai (67) once came to the Elbe from Kazakhstan. The heating in his apartment often stays cold. The reason is austerity. © Eric Munch

On Friday evenings, Helene Kunert (25) sets the tables for night café guests in a common room in the Zionskirche.

On Friday evenings, Helene Kunert (25) sets the tables for night café guests in a common room in the Zionskirche. © Eric Munch

He knows the fate of the night café visitors: Gerd Grabowski (75).  More and more people with an apartment stay for a moment in the heated premises.

He knows the fate of the night café visitors: Gerd Grabowski (75). More and more people with an apartment stay for a moment in the heated premises. © Eric Munch

The Salvation Army in Dresden offers those in need not only a warm meal but also the opportunity to do their laundry.

The Salvation Army in Dresden offers those in need not only a warm meal but also the opportunity to do their laundry. © Eric Munch

In the Zionskirche, both the homeless and people with a permanent place to stay can find a roof over their heads by the hour.

In the Zionskirche, both the homeless and people with a permanent place to stay can find a roof over their heads by the hour. © Norbert Neumann

The helpers also provide a warm meal.

The helpers also provide a warm meal. © Sebastian Kahnert/dpa

In Dresden, the homeless don't have to spend the autumn and winter nights outdoors.  Until the end of March, they find refuge in several parishes.

In Dresden, the homeless don’t have to spend the autumn and winter nights outdoors. Until the end of March, they find refuge in several parishes. © picture alliance/dpa

Encounter, refreshment and exchange in the warming Trinity House: Johannes Springsguth (25) promotes the event taking place there "Sunday noon".

Encounter, refreshment and exchange in the warm Trinity House: Johannes Springsguth (25) promotes the “Sunday afternoon” that takes place there. © Ove Landgrave

The Dresdner Warming Rooms depend on helpers and donations

Likes to come to the Salvation Army day club to chat and warm up: Norman Baumgart (37).

Likes to come to the Salvation Army day club to chat and warm up: Norman Baumgart (37). © Eric Munch

Norman Baumgart (37), on the other hand, is still looking for a permanent home – and a job. He also shows understanding for his fellow citizens and would like to help out in one of the seven night cafés. These went into operation at the beginning of the month.

The community hall of the parish of Zion becomes a place of refuge for the homeless every Friday. But not just for them anymore.

“In the first week we counted three visitors who stayed for supper and warmed up with us before going home again,” says the spokesman for the coordination group, Gerd Grabowski (75). “In the second week there were already twice as many.” Ascending trend.

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The Trinitatishaus on Fiedlerstraße (Sundays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and the rectory of the Laurentius parish on Markusstraße (Mondays, 4 to 6 p.m.) also offer so-called warming rooms.

In order to maintain the offers, however, committed people and donations are needed, as all sides emphasized.

Cover photo: Eric Münch, Ove Landgraf

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