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Vendor wishes: “I almost died in 2016, I’m wishing for better health in 2017”

It’s been a rough year for Hans, who faced a lot of health problems in 2016. In the latest of our vendor wishes series, he tells us that his customers have kept him going this year. One of them even gave him a very special present…

By Hans Speckhart, 58, who sells Kupfermuckn in Linz, Austria

For myself, I’m wishing for better health in 2017. I spent a lot of time in hospital this year and I was even in real danger of dying. This year, we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of Kupfermuckn. I’ve been there for almost all of that time, and I hope that it will always be there.

Aside from the small disability allowance I receive, I need the income from selling the paper so that I can keep my little flat. I hope to spend more time with my regular customers. I’m starting to find it difficult to stand for a long time at the shopping centre. On the 13 June we make an annual pilgrimage up to the church on the Pöstlingberg, one of Linz’s famous landmarks. As a child I suffered from polio and 52 years ago my mother took me on this pilgrimage for the first time. Since my mother died, my friends from Kupfermuckn have come with me each year.

We need more affordable housing provided to us by the state. In the free market, homeless people don’t have a chance. Welfare benefits and the minimum wage (social assistance) are no longer enough to lead a comfortable life. Costs are being cut, but in the wrong places.

In 2017, I think Kupfermuckn should be published more frequently, maybe every two weeks. It should also cover more current issues, so that it appeals to more readers. I also hope that we can find more supporters and sponsors.

The politicians in Austria seem to be completely clueless and have no perspective. I don’t expect any social progress from this government, as they seem to create more problems than they ultimately solve.

This time next year I hope I am still alive, if my health permits. And if possible, still in my beloved SolarCity [an energy-saving living district, which provides living space for about 4,000 people] where a lot of people know me and support me personally. This year a customer even gave me a TV! I would like to thank him here once again.

My message to my customer would be keep buying and reading Kupfermuckn, because there you’ll find the true stories about what’s going on. Without this paper, many of us vendors would never be able to break out of the vicious circle of homelessness.

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