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Homeless Population Increases During Greek Economic Crisis

These days, the homeless population is not only at historic highs, but the profile of the homeless has substantially changed as the debt crisis has forced many onto the streets due to bankruptcy and job loss.
Once likely to consist of a population of alcoholics, drug users, and the mentally ill, the homeless now are more likely to be middle-class, young and moderately poor individuals, and families.
Officials at Klimaka, a nongovernment organization, say the number of homeless in Greece has increased by 25 per cent, to 20,000, over the past two years, an overwhelming increase in a country known for its family oriented culture.
“The number of homeless people has increased due to the economic crisis in the last year, but their profile has changed as well. They are people who lived a normal life but due to the crisis that has hit almost all occupations and age groups, have found themselves in this situation,” Alamanou said, coordinator of the Klimaka programme to help the homeless.
With unemployment near 17 per cent, the new homeless come from all walks of life, and include those once involved in seasonal occupations related to tourism, guards, sailors and technicians.
Traditionally, individuals and families in need would have been supported by extended families but the economic situation has become so tight that parents, children, siblings, and cousins find it difficult to take in unemployed relatives.
There are no government supported homeless shelters in Greece and no official policy for helping the homeless return to work and to society.

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