The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Greece: Rise in Homelessness




A young man is sitting in the corner of the Klimaka hostel, rocking himself against his knees in a slow repetitive rhythm. In the hostel’s office a woman resident is being treated, having just been assaulted by him.

A vine grows above the yellow painted walls and green woodwork where men and women gather. They are the homeless people of Athens. Sitting among them are Petros Papadopolous and Leonidas Samios, but the stories of these two men are very different from many of the other residents. Rough sleepers who have found a bed, they are neither habitual drug users nor suffering from mental illness, unlike most of those who use the hostel.

Papadopolous and Samios are ordinary working men who have been undone by Greece’s financial crisis in a country where, according to official data, unemployment is expected to climb to between 17% and 18% by the end of 2011, a figure that in reality could be as much as 5% higher. And in a country with some of the weakest social provision in Europe, whose government is pushing through a stringent austerity programme, the consequence has been the creation of a new poor, some of whom have been forced on to the streets. While the two men are happy to be photographed, the names they supply are not their own. Both are too ashamed to let their families know they are homeless.

They represent what social workers in Greece have described as an “unprecedented” surge in homelessness.

Read the full article at the Guardian


  1. Jackson Fletcher
    August 11, 2011    

    Given the problems which Greeks are experiencing, isn’t it totally idiotic to expect Greece to cater for immigrants too?
    Unfortunately, there are some idiotic people who expect Greece to cater for immigrants, feed them, clothe them, give them housing, provide education, medical care, employment….meanwhile, Greeks like those in the article are having to sleep on piss-stained mattresses in the street and look for food in the garbage bin….

  2. mark k
    August 11, 2011    

    The two issues are not mutually exclusive. From what I have read and understood, Greece has been reprimanded many times in the past, before the finacial crisis, for not dealing with immigration and for abusing the human rights of immigrants. It is unfortunate that Greece is suffering at present but does that absolve the government from past and present abuses?

  3. Jackson Fletcher
    August 11, 2011    

    Greece is unable to provide housing, medical care, jobs, food, clothes for a huge influx of refugees who come countries which our country has bombed to kingdom come. If that constitutes “abuse of human rights” then i suppose Greece is guilty. But i would look at our government FIRST when looking for human rights abuses as we’re responsible for raining bombs and misery on these people forcing them to flee in the first place……No matter how hard you try, you can’t ignore the truth….it’s gnawing at you deep inside because you’re doing sweet fa about it…you prefer to put the blame on poor countries like Greece and that is reprehensible …..

  4. Jackson Fletcher
    August 11, 2011    

    mark k, do you actually believe that Greece is capable of providing health care, employment, housing etc for immigrants when they can’t even look after their own citizens? Read the article above and see how difficult it is for Greeks to survive, and get real.

  5. kostaslambris
    August 11, 2011    

    I am Greek and i can tell you JF that you don’t know what you are talking about. Greece has used everything to excuse its own human rights abuses in the past. It was not this current finacial climate that created the inability to deal with immigrants. It was greed, incompetance, racism and stupidity.

    Don’t feel the need to defend us. You have no idea and we are perfectly capable of defending ourselves or admitting guilt. There are plenty of us who are admitting guilt now and for the past 20 odd years.

    I feel no threat from this website or from any other Greek or English site. I know what my country has done and I am big enough to hold my country and its people to blame for what has been done over the last decades. I don’t need you to come to my rescue.

  6. Twinkle
    August 11, 2011    

    I like the creativity with which people have started dealing with the poverty. For instance, there is a time bank in Athens where people can trade services with each other.

  7. Jackson Fletcher
    August 12, 2011    

    koastaslambris, the problem with Greece is that it’s a poor European country with a limited capacity to accomodate massive immigration. Whether it has financial difficulties or not, Greece has always had a limited ability to handle such a massive level of immigration. Given these FACTS, it is hardly surprising that Greece doesn’t have the best record when it comes to treatment of immigrants.
    But let’s not pretend that it’s because you as a nation, as a people, is racist or anti-immigration. This is the impression that this hate blog is giving with reams and reams of negative articles, painting the whole nation as a racist hellhole.
    If you feel guilty about the “20 years” of mistreatment of immigrants in your country, then the people who run this blog i.e. smug sanctimonious Brits, have 200 years of guilt with the way we ran around the wortld sticking our flag into peoples’ countries, plundering their wealth and enslaving their populations…As i said before, we brits have alot more to learn from YOU, than you guys have to learn from us. And don’t think our crimes are in the past either. we are continuing to stick our noses into other countries (Iraq, Afghanistan) and CREATING refugees with our wars. So, thank you for your comments but you will not stop me from coming here and exposing the motives behind the sanctimonious Brits who love to take the p*ss out of johnny foreigner. This blog is testament to the British trait of “pointing the finger as other poor buggers in order to make us feel better and absolve ourselves of centuries worth of our own guilt”. Diva, get your arse down to Tottenham and Clapham and see how our country is treating our own black citizens, never mind criticising a poor country which is virtually bankrupt. Our coutnry is rich but we still have blacks and ethnic minorities as an UNDERCLASS. We don’t even view them as second class citizens, our ethnic minorities are treated as an UNDERCLASS by our Police, our goverment and our major insitutions.
    Stop being so bloody ignorant and stop being so bloody hypocritical.

  8. pj
    August 12, 2011    

    @ Kosta

    For reasons best known to himself, “JF” is only interested in attacking the author of this blog, and has no interest in or knowledge of Greece or the Greek people, hence his massively patronising assumption that he knows more than you do about what the situation here is!

  9. soula
    August 12, 2011    

    true that greece had problems before the financial they r even worse yet the migrants keep coming.

  10. kostaslambris
    August 12, 2011    

    Thank you Pj, I realised that JF has his motives and no-one will really understand why. For us, here in Greece, the diva’s blog has been a very interesting and informative read because we don’t have many people writing about these sorts of things. I really appreciate her putting this stuff out in english. I don’t see her as a “Brit pointing the finger” I see her as someone who really cares about the country she lives in and very obviously loves. I would hate to see her stop reporting these things because of the bullying she gets. As a Greek who appreciates democracy and free will, i will continue to support this blog. It’s important.

  11. Jackson Fletcher
    August 12, 2011    

    You’ll notice that pj isn’t addressing me personally, he prefers to “warn” other people about me. This is classic British behaviour when they’ve been rumbled. I’m onto him and he simply doesn’t like it. I know how we Brits behave (especially ex-pats living abroad), we are condescending, arrogant and sanctimonous, snobbish and very judgmental against “johnny foreigner”. We go abroad and think that the people we live amongst are the foreigners! As for Diva and her “caring” about Greece, and “loving” the country, it’s clear that you’ve only been reading this blog for a short time. If you go back and read posts from a few years ago, you’ll soon change your mind. Diva, has accused old women of being racist because they were simply “looking at her” on a bus, she noticed neo-Nazi graffitti on a wall, so she portrayed Greece as “fascist”, she posted about some numbskulls beating up an immigrant so she painted Greece as “racist”, she read an article about an anti-semitic attack on a synagogue and she immediately jumped to the conclusion that Greece has an anti-Semitism problem. I told her not to jump to conclusions because the perpetrators of the attack on the synagogue may not be Greek. A few days later the perpetrators were caught and they were BRITISH. But there was no apology from diva, there was no update on her blog. In fact, it was UP TO ME to provide the information that the perpetrators of the attack were BRITISH. This constant drip-feed of negative article after negative article without follow-ups or apologies when she gets it wrong is a common feature of this blog – if you have a blog such as this i’m afraid that you HAVE RESPONSIBILTY to be ON THE BALL and avoid stereotypical generalisations and jumping to conclusions…and it’s simply UNFAIR to portray a whole nation with article after artciel of negativity – there are hardly any positive articles (such as the info which Twinkle posted above about the time bank) – in fact, on the few occasions that there is a postivie article here, it’s almost always done on the prompting of others and always done in a grudging way (almost like a token gesture). Lastly, this blog is full of generalisations and negativity against a country and this attracts RACISTS. For your information, Diva allowed a British Racist here FOR A LONG TIME to post his racist and totally unnacceptable views on the greek people where he described Greeks as being “lazy”, “prone to corruption”, “peasants”, “not religious, but superstitious” and a myriad of other offensive and condescending epithets. there were alos rcist Americans making awful comments about Greek loving “handouts” etc…Are you ok with racists saying such things about you and your country? Well, Diva allowed these racists FREE REIGN in here until PEOPLE LIKE ME chased them the hell out of here..

  12. kostaslambris
    August 12, 2011    

    I’ve been reading this blog probably as long as you have if not longer. Unlike you, i feel no need to write every day and btw i do know who you are! You did not “save” this blog or run anyone out. You’d like to think you did but we are not stupid. In fact, your arrogance is more than disgraceful. I don’t believe there are many Greek people who are against the Diva. She has been in the press here quite a lot. They may disagree with what she says but are not against the blog per se. You have a problem.

  13. Jackson Fletcher
    August 12, 2011    

    You cannot speak for most Greek people so you cannot claim to know what they think of “the” Diva (as you called her). Nor can I claim to know what Greeks think of blog but i would bet my bottom dollar that they would not like to be called “peasants”, “lazy” or “prone to corruption”. These are labels which were regularly being pinned on Greeks in here by resident racists. These are labels which, if used to describe blacks, indians or any other ethnic group, would rightly be described as offensive.

  14. kostaslambris
    August 12, 2011    

    I don’t speak for most greek people, of course! BUT i believe it is you that continues to hold the (there’s only one that you are fixated with) British racist as a weapon. And then continues to tell the rest of us about him. Seriously… stop. Say something else. Let’s have a discussion maybe?

  15. Jackson Fletcher
    August 12, 2011    

    Yes, let’s discuss why there is no call among human rights activists for the abolishing of the Dublin Agreement II. Surely, allowing people to go where they wish instead of keeping them in poor countries without a hope in hell of getting a job or even being processed as a refugee, would be the best solution for everyone?
    I would like to know why “the” Diva, pj or any other human rights activist on here has never even mentioned campaigning for this….

  16. kostaslambris
    August 12, 2011    

    Even without having to do a search? I have read many times about the Dublin Agreement II on this blog. I didn’t even know it existed until I was reading about it here. Perhaps you are choosing not to read the positive aspects of this blog? I don’t have time to do a search bit i’m pretty sure the diva wrote about being against the dublin agreement. I will look it up if i get the chance.

  17. Jackson Fletcher
    August 12, 2011    

    Maybe she’ll save you the trouble of searching and she’ll come on and tell us why she hasn’t campaigned for it’s abolishment? Maybe she’ll come on and tell us why she can go to anti-gay parades in Athens and organise protests for the Roma but she can’t protest against the Dublin Agreement II (which is by far the greatest single cause of abject misery for the immigrants) …Don’t get me wrong, I do think “the” Diva has done alot of good work for the benefit of downtrodden and vulnerable people, but her choice of apportioning blame for their problems solely on Greece and making generalisations about Greeks is wrong and must be challenged….
    I also think that a healthy dose of “clean up your own back yard before criticising others” wouldn’t go amiss either…..Our back yard is an absolute dump compared to Greece’s so we shouldn’t be pretending that the grass is greener on our side of the fence…even the title of this blog has an air of superiority about it……

  18. Jackson Fletcher
    August 12, 2011    

    Oh by the way, since Diva “loves the country” so much and “loves Greeks”, maybe she can tell us her views on the Macedonia issue and whether they correlate with the overwhelming majority of Greek people. Surely, a person who loves a country will also be likely to support it’s national interests and be “at one” with the desires of it’s people? Don’t hold your breath….

  19. Jackson Fletcher
    August 12, 2011    

    Sorry, i meant anti-gay protests….

  20. Jackson Fletcher
    August 13, 2011    

    I’d like to pose a question to all the people who criticise Greece and other poor countries for their poor treatment towards immigrants.
    If you had a family of four, living in a two-bedroom apartment and had a low-paying job, would you allow immigrants to share your home, share your modest income with them, provide them with food, buy them clothes and buy them medical care? In other words, would you do what you’re asking Greece and other poor countries to do? If immigrants knocked on your front door asking for lodging, food and money to help them in their predicament, I bet you’d shut the door in their face … HYPOCRITES.