Leonhard Wohlfahrt und Muzaffer Arslan stehen vor der Haustür eines Klienten.

Close to people | Stories from Bethel

The rescuers from Mobile Tenant Help

The front door opens as soon as the doorbell rings. Muzaffer Arslan (40) greets the guests and invites them in, while his colleague Leonhard Wohlfahrt (28) offers them a seat. It's clear that the manners of the two employees of Bethel.regional's mobile tenant help centre are just right. But Muzaffer Arslan and Leonhard Wohlfahrt are not always as courteous as when they meet in their offices in Bielefeld. The social workers can be different.

"Sometimes we can be biting," says Muzaffer Arslan, and Leonhard Wohlfahrt adds: "We can argue." This ability is an important prerequisite for their work. After all, the two help people who are at risk of losing their home and thus falling into social decline due to non-payment. It often takes more than politeness to assert the interests of their clients vis-à-vis the authorities or health insurance companies and, in rare cases, landlords.

Leonhard Wohlfahrt advises a client in the office.

"We go all ways to secure our existence"

"We become active when someone - for whatever reason - is unable to move themselves," explains Leonhard Wohlfahrt. The rental helpers check their clients' financial situation and put them in touch with network partners such as debt counselling. They also offer to keep a trust account for them so that rent, service charges and instalments to repay debts flow safely. "We go to all lengths to secure their livelihood," Leonhard Wohlfahrt assures us. "We are trying to save the basis. And that's the flat," emphasises Muzaffer Arslan. Sometimes they do this with tenacity and a willingness to engage in conflict.

There are many possible causes for a person's withdrawal, for the growing pile of bills and reminders. Depression, for example. A death in the family. Or a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. If rent payments are not made, landlords in Bielefeld are increasingly turning to Muzaffer Arslan and Leonhard Wohlfahrt. Their attempts to enter into dialogue with defaulting tenants are often difficult, at least at first. Only rarely do they immediately experience the same friendliness at the doors of over-indebted tenants that they themselves enjoy when receiving guests. Sometimes it takes four or five visits for people to build up trust and accept the help offered.

Muzaffer Arslan looks into the camera.
"We're trying to save the base. And that's the flat."
Muzaffer Arslan | Mobile tenant assistance

If they do, there is justified hope for new economic stability. And therefore a happier life. Muzaffer Arslan gives an example of the elderly lady who, after months without electricity and gas, can cook for herself at home again. Leonhard Wohlfahrt talks about the father of a family who has paid off a mountain of debt and is making holiday plans.

When the man thanked the rental helpers for their support, he had a cake with him. And tears in his eyes. "That was a touching moment," says Leonhard Wohlfahrt. It was also a moment of affirmation: That all the effort, persistence and also the conflicts really are worth it.

Text: Philipp Kreutzer | Photo: Thomas Richter

This story simply told

Some people can no longer pay their rent. Then they may soon lose their home. They can get support from the Mobile Tenant Help Centre. It organises the financial situation. This means that these people will soon be able to pay their rent again. And stay in their home.

Would you like to find out more?

Offers & services

Mobile Mieterhilfe supports people so that they can:

  • Repay rent and energy debts.
  • secure current rent and energy payments in the future.
  • regain an overview of their own finances.
  • have enough to live on despite debts.
  • reduce their financial burden.
  • be able to get rid of their debts.
  • solve problems with landlords or authorities.

Counselling can take place at home or in the office. On request, all necessary visits to authorities and offices as well as discussions with landlords or energy suppliers can be accompanied.

Close to people

More stories from Bethel

Rainer Wollenburg steht auf der Tribühne im Fußball-Stadion und hält jubelnd beide Arme in die Höhe.

Topics | Disability assistance, Bielefeld

Black, white and blue passion with the Arminenschmiede

Black, white and blue passion with the Arminenschmiede

Topics | Hospice, Bielefeld

You can kick well in a wheelchair

You can kick well in a wheelchair
Gereon Klein hält Marie-Luise Gerhold im Arm und lächelt sie liebevoll an.

Topics | Disability assistance, Bielefeld

He leads her, and she leads him: together we go

He leads her, and she leads him: together we go
Kai kuschelt mit Hund Otto.

Topics | Youth welfare, Diepholz

Kai and the animals

Kai and the animals

Press contact

Press + Communication

Looking for help?

Are you or a relative dependent on help or assistance and looking for support?

Would you like to help?

There are many ways to help at Bethel. We are happy about any support!