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Greek Professionals Living In The Streets

homeless0901Greece’s growing legions of the homeless, many pushed into poverty and onto the streets by punishing austerity measures, are seeing more educated professionals who have lost their jobs, income and hope, a survey by the Athens-based NGO Klimaka has found.
The group said that 70 percent of the homeless have been that way for at least a year, 40 percent have been mugged at least once and 20 percent of homeless women have been sexually abused and left outside society.
Klima detailed the results at a news conference on Dec. 12 and said it talked with 218 homeless people between September 2011-February 2012, not including how many more disenfranchised people have joined the ranks of those without a place to live.
Illustrating how homelessness has reached into different economic strata, many of the new homeless are former professionals. Many of those surveyed were previously employed in technical jobs, the construction sector, at private firms or were self-employed, Klimaka officials said. The study suggested that men were more likely to end up on the streets as eight out of 10 approached for the poll were male. A third of the respondents were divorced while nearly half (47.2 percent) said they had children.
Seven in 10 said they had become homeless in the past two years, as the economic crisis began to take hold, while more than half sleep in the streets of the historic center. Half of the respondents said they lived on less than 20 euros a month, while six out of 10 said their families were aware of their situation and in most cases indifferent. Half also said they had no friends, while 18 percent said they had attempted suicide.
Access to free healthcare is another major problem, according to project coordinator Ada Alamanou. “People come to us with serious health problems and no access to healthcare but hospital staff tell us they have orders not to treat such cases,” she said.
Asked who was to blame for their situation, nearly half (47.6 percent) responded “politicians,” while a quarter (25.7 percent) said all Greeks were responsible. There are an estimated 20,000 homeless people in Greece today.

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