Athens – With 20,000 Homeless – Will Offer Help, Work to 56

ATHENS – With tourists pouring in during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and also being able to see homeless scattered around the Greek capital – estimates have ranged as high as 20,000 at times – city officials are offering a program to provide housing, training and work for 56 of them.

It’s being funded by 826,536 euros ($863,123) from the New Democracy government’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs for the Housing and Work for the Homeless program said Kathimerini.

Katerina Gagaki, the municipality’s Deputy Mayor of Social Solidarity and Civil Society, acknowledged it’s too little, but saying that, “It is very important to give support through the program to people who have been on the streets, but have a passion and desire to succeed.”

The program provides housing in apartments and rent coverage for 24 months, as well as up to two years’ worth of living and household expenditure, work and training subsidies, psychosocial support, job counseling and referrals to qualified and specialized services, the paper said.

It will be reviewed after a year but no word whether help would be extended to more homeless as a succession of governments over the decades have promised to do more but unable to make a dent in the problem.

The city also said two new facilities for drug addicts among the homeless are being added, run by the Organization Against Drugs (OKANA) to give them shelter and medical attention instead of wandering the streets dazed.

Social workers are also on hand to help them apply for any state support they are entitled and deal with the notorious bureaucracy that makes it difficult to get paperwork approved.

The day center has a capacity of 200 people, while the dormitory can sleep up to 90 people, no indication of how many addicts there are on the streets although they are visible near the city center.

The site Addiction Center said that, “While governmental austerity measures slowed down many programs aimed at curbing addiction in Greece, there are some programs still working. Intravenous drug use has led to a spike in HIV and hepatitis C throughout Greek cities, and needle exchange programs have popped up to combat that effect”

Propelling addiction has been a drug called Sisa which the site Narconon Europe said is made from methamphetamine chemicals and filler ingredients such as battery acid, engine oil, shampoo, and cooking salt.



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