“I owe my landlord 6,000 euros” my hairdresser tells me while she tries to handle my unhandleable hair with brush and dryer . “Now he is forcing me with lawyer either to move out or pay” she says and gazes at me with wide open eyes through the mirror.
Christina (let’s call her Christina) was unable to pay her rent most of the months of 2010. She and her partner saw customers disappear already in January 2010.
Earnings 50 Euros per Week
“There were times when we went home with 50 euros in our pockets at the end of the week, after we paid for our parlor utilities.” Christina, 42, is divorced with two teenager children, that need if not clothes, food and school items. “I couldn’t help but set priorities, i.e. feed my children…..” she mumbles.
Christina and her partner Maria opened a hairdresser parlor three years ago in a middle class neighborhood on Athens. They took bank loans that have to be paid back. The economic crisis hit them first, as other Greek mothers set similar priorities:First to feed their children and then to take care of their beauty.
Christina is just one figure in the statistics and data that recently came out about tenants who can’t pay their rent and are threatened with evictions.
Record number of evictions in 2011
Greek Daily Ethnos reports that in the first forty days of 2011, a record number of 4,000 applications for evictions have been submitted according to data from the tax authorities. In comparison in the whole year 2010, the number of evictions was 2,388 and the applications 8,426.
The daily stresses that families even with low rent of 300-400 euros per month see themselves unable to pay.
Lawyers and court employees told the newspaper that the number of Greek bad payers is increasing day by day as more and more people lose their job and find themselves without income.
There are increasing reports as well, about tenants or property owners who are unable to pay the building maintenance charges or heating oil. Dozens of cases land to the Greek courts.
Homesless in Athens
Meanwhile according to Non-governmental organisation “Klimaka” the number of homeless in Greece has reached 20,000 people, with half of them living in Athens. 3,000 of them sleep on the benches of the Greek capital.