According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT.), the current number of homeless people in Greece amounts to at least 20,000, a rise of 20-25% compared to two years ago, although it is acknowledged that the official statistics do not depict the real growing number of homeless people.Greece is ranked 7th among the European countries that experience problems with poor and socially marginalized people. Currently, 27,7 % of Greek citizens live in poverty and social exclusion and do not have sufficient means to cover housing expenses.

During the last months, due to the recent severe financial crisis and the austerity measures that have shrunk the economy, the situation has been gravely exacerbated.In the first semester of 2012, the income of the Greek families was reduced by about 5,5% compared to 2011. According to a recent survey, one out of seven Greek citizens currently benefit from food rations. As a result, there is a new category of citizens, which are long-term unemployed who cannot pay off their debts and have unexpectedly lost the right to a decent life. These people are unavoidably led towards the beggary.

Although the problem seems to affect the whole Greek territory, it is more prominent in the big urban centres and especially Athens. The phenomenon has taken  particularly severe dimensions in Athens, a city of which the social character has undergone severe changes as a consequence. The economic turmoil, which has led to such social degradation, is considered as the worst recession in modern Greek history, while Bloomberg recently stated that it is ‘the highest collapse of a developed country, during the last three decades.

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Latham & Watkins
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Housing Rights Watch