COVID-19: community support measures by Düsseldorf

Sur le terrain
A selection of measures by Düsseldorf (May 2020)

Masks for all

Since wearing a mask in public transportation and shops is compulsory now, city staff of Dusseldorf and volunteers are distributing masks on different places in the city. For the elderly, 50,000 hygiene kits including masks have been prepared and can be ordered for home delivery. Additional 15,000 masks have been donated for refugees. With online videos, the city shows how to sew your own mask. You can read more here and here (in German).

More homeless shelters

Düsseldorf is providing food packages and is arranging more shelters in the city. As of Monday, the municipal canteen at will serve as a distribution point for the Streetwork association. Düsseldorf catering establishments will take care of the delivery of groceries. The party service Fröhlich will supply the day care centers and some emergency accommodation from Saturday. The Schumacher brewery will take care of the supplies and the delivery of the drug help center. The city has informed other institutions such as the GuteNachtBus, the poor kitchen and Fiftyfifty that they can send their needs and questions to the city. Read more here (in German).

More hotel rooms for the homeless

Since those without shelter are especially exposed to a possible infection with the corona virus, the city of Dusseldorf has rented another hotel with 34 rooms for homeless people. It offers single and double rooms during the crisis as well as medical and social care. Including those rooms, the city has provided additional accomodation for more than 175 homeless people. You can read more here (in German).

Protection for women and children

With families spending unusually much time together bound in their homes, the incidents of domestic violence have spiked in the past weeks and days. The German city of Dusseldorf has therefore extended its accommodation facilities, shelters and protection services for women and children in need. For people suffering emotionally as a result from the corona restrictions, psychological counselling is offered via telephone hotlines.

To protect children and women against domestic violence, the city, in cooperation with partner organisations, has rented hotel rooms for the acute accomodation of victims of violence. Read more here (in German).

Staying at home and social distancing take a psychological and emotional toll on everyone but especially those who already suffer from psychological disorders and rely on medical or social support. Düsseldorf now established a telephone counselling service for those in need of support while staying at home. Read more here (in German).

With kindergarten and schools closed and many parents therefore working from home and having to simultaneously take care of the children, many find themselves overwhelmed by the extraordinary situation. Parents and children likewise can now get help and advice on how to cope better via a telephone service. Read more here (in German).

Support parents at home

Dusseldorf’s Youth Department has initiated a free online parenting program which helps parents who struggle to balance teleworking while also taking care of their children.

Hardship funds for minijobbers and freelancers

Employees, students, pensioners or artists in Dusseldorf who suffer from substantial financial losses due to the coronavirus can be granted a onetime aid up to €1,000. The money can be used to enable participation, for example via online learning tools or newspaper subscriptions.

Sweets after Ramadan

Muslims celebrating ‘Eid al-Fitr’, the religious festival of breaking the fast at the end of the month of Ramadan, did get bags with tasty sweets brought to their homes last weekend in Dusseldorf. The initiative ‘Refugees welcome in Düsseldorf’ had donated 50 bags to muslim refugees in corona quarantine.

Live Corona-Talks with the Mayor

Dusseldorf’s mayor Thomas Geisel is offering live talks online in which he and chosen speakers answer people’s questions concerning Corona. The talks are in a Q&A format and take place twice a week – Tuesdays and Fridays. Residents can send in their questions in advance or via the live chat. After the live streaming the talks can be watched on the city’s YouTube channel.

Education, support and sport

Dusseldorf is turning to the internet and telephone to education, sport and support. A new hotline for the elderly and other high risk populations is available for getting help and advice. Read more (in German) here. A new e-learning platform provided by the city allows teachers to provide their pupils with learning material and online classes. Read more (in German) here. And the municipal department of sport, which usually offers free outdoor classes in Dusseldorf’s parks, has launched online workouts that people can enjoy from home. Read more (in German) here.

Psychological help on the go

“Walk & Talk” is a new service of the socio-psychological councelling office in Dusseldorf. In addition to the phone helpline, counselling is now also done during promenades outdoors, using walkie-talkies while keeping the safety distance. 

Poems over the phone

The municipal Heinrich-Heine-Institute in Dusseldorf, a museum dedicated to the German poet Heinrich Heine, offers the reading of poems and other texts over the phone during the time it is closed due to the corona regulations. The museum also publishes educational videos, readings and quizzes on Instagram and Facebookto to keep eager Heine fans busy. Read more here (in German).

The municipal Clara Schumann music school offers digital music classes for its students. The lessons are conducted online or via video messages, students receive their music sheets online and send their rehearsed recordings to the teacher. Read more here (in German).

Window concerts

In Dusseldorf musicians now offer open air window concerts in front of nursing homes in order to interrupt the solitary hours. Musicians play outside in front of the windows and balconies from which the audience can listen and enjoy the music.