Gov’t starts distribution of housing allowance – 17,720 homeless in Attica alone

Gov’t starts distribution of housing allowance – 17,720 homeless in Attica alone

Athens, June 12, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

Only in Attica the total number of homeless people reaches 17,720 revealed Deputy Labour Minister Theano Photiou, announcing that starting Friday, will be given as a monthly housing allowance, which will range from 70 to 220 euros.

Initially, it concerns 1,073 persons, under the implementation of the housing and reintegration program and the allocation of EUR 9.4 million. Five hundred of these persons are in Attica, 153 in Thessaloniki and 420 throughout the rest of the country.

According to Photiou, great effort is required on the part of the State, to be done faster and more decisively to tackle this huge humanitarian problem, which constantly takes even more dramatic proportions, while pointing out that there is already half a million citizens on red loans.

“Despite the heroic efforts made by the services, things do not move along. The shortages that exist are incredible, either financial or in terms of structures on care issues”, said the Deputy Labour Minister Theano Photiou, in response to a relevant question by The River MP Spyros Lykoudis.

Providing figures on the number of homeless, the minister said that according to a study by the University of Crete, only in Attica the total number of homeless reaches 17,720, among them many who still sleep in their car.

Only 1/3 of the requests for housing will be covered

Photiou also mentioned that by the end of the week, there will be a complete and accurate picture, as to who will benefit from those who have made an applications until May 30, which was the deadline, and asked to be included in the beneficial arrangements of the bill for addressing the humanitarian crisis.

Overall, according to figures reported by the minister, 300,000 applications were filed, and, as he points out, “the tragedy is that the 140,000 persons ask for electricity, while 297.00 ask for feeding”.

‘Housing subsidies requested 90,000 people. However, a rent allowance will be given, which will range from 70 – 220 euros per month to 30,000 families, ie it will only be possible to cover 1/3 of the applications”, she said.

Photiou also pointed out that the European TEBA program with funds of EUR 135 million is being accelerated and involves feeding, while insurance cards have been given to all uninsured citizens to have direct access to the health system, while under examination is the free pass card for the unemployed.

Within the ministry’s plans, he said, is the use of 240 buildings, which are currently unused in Athens, while at the same time, is investigated the legal framework to meet the voluntary offers made by people who want to give up either houses or apartment buildings for meet the needs of the homeless.

For his part, Lykoudis spoke of “the wretched of modern Greece, with neo-homeless sleeping on the streets with a blanket”, and stressed that “this picture is the image of absolute misery”.

At the same time, he stressed the need to swiftly come up with a new integrated strategy plan to address this major problem of the country.