Three kids 5, 9 and 12 years old. Μom, 32, dad 39. They all live ‘comfortably’ in a van since almost a week. Since they were evicted from the home they were renting, for outstanding debts of 3 months.
Father Alenxadros Xanthopoulos had no other choice than to pack a couple of blankets and clothes and relocate his family in the only asset he owns: an old van.
“I really wish, no man faces the same situation as I do. From a moment to the next to live in such misery,” Alexandros tells local newspaper Nea Kriti.
Unemployment hit the family, when the business where the father was working for ten years closed down due to the crisis.
“As long as I had work I could come up for my family’s expenses, pay the rent. Since I got jobless and I’m unable to do so. We live outside, on the streets. In a cage with my kids, my wife. Without home, without job.”
The family had to spent another two months in the van some 1.5 year ago.
Xanthopoulos family is just one example of Greece’s new homeless, people hit by unemployment, recession, benefits and allowances cuts, Troika-imposed austerity.
Others in similar situation may find a solution to temporarily live in a parents’ or relatives’ homes. However to have just a roof over their heads is not the solution, as they still cannot afford the cost of daily life.
A job, any job
“A job, any job,” is what Konstantinos Deliyiannis, 52, and his wife, Dimitra Golfinou, 47, want. Unemployed since 19 and 13 months respectively. Together with their two daughters, they moved to the house of Dimitra’s parents. “I can’t take it anymore. We have not even water to drink. We have debts to water company that threatens to cut off the supply,” Dimitra tells Nea Kriti.
“I go everywhere and ask for a job, even a temporary one. My husband is construction worker.”
The family manages to survive only due to food supplies from the church, occasionally to some help from former employers.
One does not need to go to the island Crete to hear personal stories of every day horror and despair. The stories of people unable to put a glass of milk on the family table are just here, next door. One just needs to see deep in the eyes of the neighbor, to read between the words, to count the face wrinkles that doubled and tripled in the speed of light.
Suffering silent, isolated from their relatives and friends. Keep their secrets for themselves. Because most of all what they cannot stand is the loss of dignity.
People without job, often without a home. In Crete and everywhere else in Greece. People without insurance, without health care. People who in best case can live on 360 euro per month unemployment allowance. for a maximum period of 12 months. And thus only if they fulfill certain severe criteria.
People without hope. Without a social state to catch up and get together the pieces of broken lives, dreams and hearts.
Is charity the solution to the 1,300,000 million Greeks without work?
PS oh wait! Growth is expected in 2014.