It's quiet during the day at the Caritas shelter in Gesundbrunnen, a diverse and working-class area in northern Berlin. But that doesn't mean there isn't lots to do. Martin Parlow, a part-time employee who organizes the shelter for the Catholic social welfare organization, has food to buy, bills to pay and staff and resources to organize.
Every night, around 18 men come in out of the cold, he says. They're here for a shower, a warm meal and a safe place to sleep. Some are drunk when they arrive. Others are running from the law for small-time offenses. Most are off the grid in Germany, coming from elsewhere in the European Union.
They go out again the next morning to face a variety of difficult circumstances: low-paid jobs or begging, struggles with addiction, and mental and physical ailments that go untreated. The elements are their enemy. "Some people have been coming here for years, which is strange and sad because this is a really basic accommodation," Parlow, who oversees a team of eight workers, tells DW.