HOMELESSNESS AROUND THE WORLD: SPOTLIGHT ON GREECE
While there is no official strategy for gathering information on the homeless situation in Greece, in 2017 the UN Human Rights Council reported a total of 21 216 homeless people in the country; with 34.8% (3.7 million people) living below the poverty line.
The majority of homeless people in Greece live in the capital city, Athens. Greece has the highest poverty rate across the European Union, as well as the highest unemployment figures in Europe.
The 2008 financial crisis hit Greece particularly hard with the result that there was an increase in homelessness as unemployment escalated. Since the financial crisis, the number of evictions has risen steadily, either by court rulings or people simply abandoning homes they can no longer afford. Economic hardship has also increased the number of children forced to live on the streets.
A collapse of the economy has forced the government to make budget cuts to social services, shut down day centres and mental healthcare facilities, as well as decrease the number of social workers on its payroll.
A study conducted by the City of Athens Homeless Shelter, and funded by the Norwegian government, revealed that 65% of homeless individuals living in Athens are Greeks, whilst others have migrated from Albania and other neighbouring countries. Seventy-one percent of these Greek citizens have ended up on the streets only in the past five years. This study was part of a programme organised by the City of Athens named ‘Fighting poverty and social exclusion’.
The majority of Greece’s homeless population is male (85.4%). Of these, more than half are between the ages of 35 and 55, with an increasing amount of younger people taking to the streets each year. Many of these individuals are highly educated and had successful careers before the economic crisis hit the country.
Homeless individuals report that they would prefer to live on the street than in homeless shelters or other organised accommodation. Almost half of the population admit to using drugs and alcohol.
Fortunately, there are a number of programmes in place and NGOs working to assist the homeless. Organisations such as Emfasis use volunteers to provide advice and assistance on issues such as access to welfare services, where they can have a shower and a meal, and distribute food, blankets and other basic necessities.
- Global Homelessness Statistics: https://homelessworldcup.org/homelessness-statistics
- Homelessness in Greece: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness_in_Greece
- Most of the Athens Homeless are Greeks, victims of the economic crisis: https://greece.greekreporter.com/2016/05/31/most-of-the-athens-homeless-are-greeks-victims-of-economic-crisis/
- Greece Crisis: Sleeping on the streets of Athens: https://money.cnn.com/2015/07/12/news/economy/greece-crisis-homeless/index.html
These aren’t just words, neatly packed to sound helpful “in theory”; these are the very real concepts on which the global movement of positive change is built.
It’s with these ideas that The Philanthropic Collection™ home to The CEO SleepOut™ is turning old world philanthropy on its head;
getting business leaders to sleep on the streets to raise funds and gain empathy for the homeless in The CEO SleepOut™ Event;
and sparking conversations that truly lead to worldwide action.