Editorial - Locked out

By Misch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

The social housing in the Cité de l'Aéroport in Sandweiler is being bricked up, while no 100 metres away homeless people are seeking shelter in the Wanteraktioun or setting up sleeping quarters in the garden sheds - a dystopian picture in the middle of Luxembourg City.

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As a journalist, Luxembourg rarely makes your stomach turn. There is a layer of abstraction over most problems that makes it difficult to denounce anything other than "systematic problems": there are major difficulties, yes, but somehow everything is always "complicated".

It was different when, while researching the Cité de l'aéroport near Findel, which was condemned to demolition, I couldn't suppress my curiosity and took a quick look into a garden house behind one of the neighbourhood's empty houses, whose windows and doors were currently being bricked up. "Nobody lives here any more, anyway, " I said to myself as I opened the door a crack. I was wrong, as an unrolled sleeping bag on a cardboard mattress immediately made me realise. Someone was living here, in the garden shed. Possibly even today. Less than ten metres away is the empty two-family house that was rented out by the social housing agency AIS a few days ago – its newly raised walls ensure that no one would ever think of looking for a roof over their head there. It was one of those moments when my stomach clenched.

It's a sad sight to see a former home turned into a concrete sarcophagus. How the original purpose is perverted and space for living/living space is rendered unusable, in a region where every square metre of living space costs around 10,000 euros. And doing so is, as one construction worker tells me, a "sad job".

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