A 50-year-old woman and her 93-year-old father have been left homeless for months in Amaliada, Greece. They spend nights and several hours of the day in the car, which currently houses all their possessions.
Fifty-year-old Stella Panagiotopoulou and her elderly father, Panagiotis, faced severe financial problems which resulted in their losing their family home and are now living in their small Fiat car. This has been their home since last winter.
The plight of the two homeless Greeks highlights the brutal reality of Greece in 2022 for some This is not reflected in the numbers showing Greece’s economy growing at a fast pace.
The father and daughter suffered through a hot, scorching summer trying to find ways to avoid sunburn and the heat by constantly searching for parking spots with shade throughout their former neighborhood in Amaliada.
Speaking to the local site Patris News, Panagiotopoulou says that ”my father and I are in exile. We have found ourselves in this position due to the reduction of my father’s pension as well as my long-term unemployment.”
Hopelessness and despair for homeless woman
Panagiotopoulou appealed to local authorities and citizens for assistance. Basically, all she asks for is a job to cover her obligations and to be able to rent a home in Amaliada.
“The situation is unbearable,” she says. “I could not imagine that we would experience something like this.”
She describes how she has sent letters about the issues she and her father have confronted and her lack of employment which have led to their losing their home.
However, she says, nothing has been done for them. She maintains that attempting to turn to various institutions is futile, as this has not helped thus far despite their appeals to social services and government agencies.
“We have already been forgotten,” she says and adds that “the whole world is passing by, looking at us with sadness. It is the worst thing for us.”
Panagiotopoulou says she has been unemployed for about ten years despite having graduated with degrees in accounting and information technology. “I did various jobs, but now we have nothing,’’ she says.
In recent years, they have been living on Mr. Panagiotis’ pension, which has been reduced by 3,000 euros to a mere 5,800 euros annually. Meanwhile, the father and daughter’s debts continue accumulating, and they keep being turned away whenever they inquire about renting an apartment.
Panagiotopoulou hopes that a homeowner might finally have mercy on her and her father and trust them. “We are people who had worked, had property,” she says.
“A job and a house to rent,” she says is what she hopes for, adding that “it is not humane what we currently live. It’s not fair for my father.”
”Where is the solidarity?” asks homeless elderly man
Mr. Panagiotis also got up from the makeshift chair/bed of the passenger seat to speak to the Patris News reporter and request that he add something.
“We came as immigrants and built the Kertizeika settlement in Douneika,” he said. “We worked, we struggled, we fought but we succeeded honestly, and we [had] our families.”
He states that their situation is unfair and inquires about where “the humanity, the solidarity, the principles” are.