The German Youth Hostel Federation has offered up some of its properties to help house those who are fleeing Afghanistan. This is not the first time the federation has opened its doors to those fleeing war and insecurity.
The German Youth Hostel Federation (DJH) has made a series of its properties across Germany available to the German government and state authorities to help house those recently arrived in the country who fled Afghanistan towards the end of the summer.
In a communication released on September 23, the DJH said that it stands ready to work with the German government and help welcome those coming from crisis situations. It added that it had already made some of its properties available in 2015 when one more than a million migrants arrived in Germany, many fleeing the war in Syria.
"This step is really obvious for us considering the humanitarian situation in the crisis areas from which they are fleeing," said the director of the DJH, Julian Schmitz.
In the German state of Hessen there are several properties that could accommodate several hundred people, added Schmitz, listing youth hostels in Büdingen, Grävenwiesbach, Lauterbach, Kassel and Limburg.
Help in 2015 too
"Back in 2015 we didn't hesitate, and we proactively offered our support," said Schmitz. "Our engagement helped to ease the suffering and the distress of these people at least in parts, and we hope we can do the same now," explained Schmitz.
Schmitz said that their offer to the government in 2015 and today was only made possible by the support of the 2.4 million members of the German Youth Hostel federation. "For that we are very thankful," said Schmitz.
Schmitz said that part of the federation’s work was to be part of and support civil society. That's why we are offering this kind of accommodation, he explained, noting that during the pandemic for example, "some of our youth hostels were used as test centers or vaccination centers."
Still others were there to provide emergency worker accommodation, (for police, fire and medical personnel) secure housing for women or homeless people, and even emergency school accommodation for those attending residential training courses or who didn’t have access to internet or a space to learn during the day.
"This goes to show how the DJH stands alongside people even during the bad times, and is working for everybody’s good, to make a positive difference in society," concluded Schmitz.
The DJH runs about 450 youth hostels in Germany across 14 state federations. In 2020 it offered around 68,298 beds for the night. About 4,500 work full time for the federation and about 800 on a voluntary basis.