In the current explorative talks for the appointment of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new federal government, according to the director of Caritas Berlin, Ulrike Kostka, it is essential to address the problem of the homeless: “The number of homeless people is rising all the time, and the problem has serious social Implications”, Kostka warned yesterday, at the start of Caritas’s yearly “cold aid” campaign. “The homeless are now at the centre of society”, pointed out Kostka, adding that the solution to the problem does not just lie with local issues. “This is a crosscutting issue and belongs to the Chancellor’s office, for a global welfare strategy to be developed”. Germany “cannot only benefit from open markets and the EU citizens’ free movement, it must also take social responsibility for immigrants”, and, as far as Berlin’s situation is concerned, Kostka asked for a “strategic forum with the involvement of charity agencies and district governments”. Berlin’s homeless emergency was aggravated on Monday October 30th by the evacuation of an illegal camp in the city’s Tiergarten park. According to Caritas, homeless people are about 40 thousand in the capital alone, and at least 6 thousand of them have been homeless for a long time.