How charities make a profit

Emergency shelters - DRK and Co. make a profit of 16 million euros with refugees

At the height of the refugee influx, the aid organizations in Lower Saxony made a profit of 16 million euros by operating emergency shelters. This emerges from the figures that the Ministry of the Interior is now fully available to. A spokesman for Interior Minister Boris Pistorius announced that the money should flow back into disaster control over the next three to five years.

2000 refugees a day

With 8.5 million euros, Johanniter booked the largest part of the sum, followed by the Maltese with 3.5 million euros and the Red Cross (DRK) with 2.3 million euros. The German Life Saving Society (DLRG) achieved a surplus of 900,000 euros and the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) 700,000 euros.

The surpluses arose when more than 102,000 people sought protection in Lower Saxony in 2015 alone. At peak times around 2000 refugees came a day. "Orderly administrative action" was "only possible to a limited extent" at that time, the State Audit Office found. In this exceptional situation, the country asked the aid organizations for support. The helpers made emergency camps available for thousands of people in a very short time because the country was hopelessly overwhelmed with the accommodation.

More than 100 million euros flowed to the aid organizations between September 2015 and October 2016. But just as quickly as the number of refugees skyrocketed in August 2015, it fell rapidly in spring 2016. Because the country had agreed long-term contracts with the helpers, the money ultimately went to empty beds - a warm rain of money rained down on the Maltese and co. Johanniter, for example, had a temporary surplus of 20 million euros in their books in autumn 2016. Even in 2017, the state transferred another 19.5 million euros for unused capacities, according to the state audit office.

Empty beds, full accounts

In the meantime, the country and aid organizations have settled the accounts, and what remains is the profit of 16 million euros. The organizations cannot freely dispose of the money. A spokesman for the interior ministry said the country had concluded a so-called target agreement with the Johanniter about the use. Similar contracts with the others are to follow. It states that 70 percent of the funds for investments should go into emergency vehicles, for example. The rest is to be used for training and further education.

According to a spokesman, the DLRG, for example, has advertised five boats suitable for flooding. She wants to spend 250,000 euros on it. The Johanniter have created a new full-time position for the training of paramedics in their educational institute in Hanover, as a spokeswoman explained. New vehicles and protective clothing are to be purchased. The DRK wants to invest in vehicles, radios and vaccinations for employees, among other things. There are similar plans at the ASB, as a spokeswoman announced.

From Karl Doeleke