18 4.5. Solutions All interviewees frequently stated that in order to address energy poverty comprehensively and sustainably, a mixture of measures, both on the structural and on the individual level, would be necessary. Overall, there are certain structures and laws that allow people to fall below the poverty line and into precarious living situations. Poverty leads to a range of issues, access to energy being only one of them. The scope of action for the Ombudsteam and social institutions is limited within the existing structures that perpetuate poverty. As one of the interviewees argued “The wheel that you need to turn is the income of the people. You can talk a lot about the need to do something about energy poverty and so on, but as long as the standards are as they are now, and they did not really improve over the last few years, it is difficult despite all efforts when smaller or bigger catastrophe’s arise.”10 Interviewees proposed a range of solutions that can address both poverty and energy poverty. One of the key demands of Caritas is a poverty check for all new laws, especially in light of the Green Deal and forthcoming energy efficiency measures. This poverty check should take needs and concerns of the most vulnerable into account and ensure that they are not negatively affected. Another interviewee demanded that in general there need to be more protections and solutions for the most vulnerable people who do not have a lobby to speak for them. All interviewees agreed that there should be a more holistic approach to solving the issue. Looking at the individual household level, as is happening right now, is useful for tackling the specific challenges the individual household faces at this moment. However, it is not addressing the root structural causes that put the household into that position in the first place. The social worker at MA40 pointed out that this is a missed opportunity. “We should not just combat poverty, but also resource waste and carbon emissions”.11 She argued that it would be beneficial to locate the Wiener Energieunterstützung not with the Hilfe in besonderen Lebenslagen and the MA40 but on a more macro level that takes into account the long-term and common benefits of energy efficiency measures. This would also make it easier to justify the high expenses that some of the measures incur. She mentioned an example of spending €10 000 on one single household, including installing district heating and implementing other energy-efficiency measures. At first glance it may seem like a big amount of money, but there are long term benefits, as living conditions in the flat have been improved sustainably and a significant reduction of emissions has been achieved. The measures will even benefit tenants that move into the flat after the recipients of the Wiener Energieunterstützung have moved out. As mentioned above, rent and living conditions most frequently came up as a core issue related to energy poverty. All interviewees frequently argued that the most vulnerable should not have to live in the most precarious living conditions. Certain conditions, such as broken windows or old cables, should be unacceptable, even more so if it is housing provided by the 10 Original quote in German: Das Rad, wo man drehen müsste, ist halt das Einkommen von den Leuten. Man kann immer viel darüber reden, dass man da was tun muss, bei Energiearmut und so, solange die Standards halt die sind, die wir jetzt haben, und wo es in den letzten Jahren auch nicht wirklich besser geworden ist es dann halt auch mit allen Bemühungen, allen Dingen, von kleinen oder größeren Katastrophen ist es halt immer schwer dann. 11 Original quote in German: „Es soll also nicht nur eine Armutsbekämpfung sein, sondern auch eine Bekämpfung von Ressourcenverschwendung und CO2 Ausstoß.“