Residents in several underprivileged suburbs of Athens and Piraeus have seen their economic situation to have dramatically deteriorate and consequently also their living standards. According to a survey conducted by the Greek Ombudsman: one in five residents seeks soup kitchens and social groceries in order to get food. Three in ten have no heating and hot water. One in four living in apartment buildings have not turn on the radiators since 2010.
The survey has been conducted in 2015 and in Kypseli, Ano Patisia and Agios Panteleimonas districts of Athens as well as in Nikaia-Rendis and Perama suburbs of Piraeus.
17% of the residents of these areas have experienced electricity and/or water outage due to unpaid bills. One in four had to make debt arrangements with the Power or Water company in order to gain again access to electricity and/or water.
Almost half (48.5%) said that in the last five years, they have faced difficulties in the repayment of debts to banks, credit cards, taxes, rents, building maintenance cost, tutor schools and schools.
One in six (17%) said that they have experienced power/water outage and one in four (23.4%) said that they live in apartment buildings where the central heating does not operate for economic reasons.
80.2% said that their need for heating in winter and cooling in summer is not covered.
29.2% said that their needs for heating/cooling, cooking, hot water, refrigerator and electricity are not covered due to economic reasons.
35.03% use electricity for heating (electric radiator or A/C), 33.09% use heating oil, 9.04% use natural gas, 8.47% use firewood and 7.34% use LPG.
Next to the economic insecurity, the residents are also disappointed from the surrounding environment they live in. 55.2% of respondents named as Number One problem the inadequate and not maintained open spaces.
20.6% of the respondents named “the presence of migrants, Roma and homeless”, while 18.9% named the problematic infrastructure, such as holes in the streets and broken sidewalks.
What is interesting is that despite the dramatic economic situation, 78,87% of respondents said that they have never sought the aid of social networks. the rest said that they daily, frequently or monthly seek the soup kitchens offered by the Church, as well as the aid offered by social groceries shops, social medical centers, social pharmacies.
The survey was conducted February-April 2015 among 651 men and women over 16 years old. 30.5% of the respondents had a job, 29.85 were unemployed and 26.5% were pensioners. The survey was conducted in a broader research called “Solidarity and social isolation in Greece.” The survey was published by daily Eleftheros Typos.
According to data, 300,000 households applied for the “Program to tackle the Humanitarian Crisis” offering financial aid for electricity, rent and food. The 300,00 applications correspond to 621,000 people.
236,000 households had to receive at least one of these three options but in the end only 176,000 household benefited from the program. 50,000 households remained outside the safety net, because of the economic downturn.
PS I am curious for the results of a survey in former so-called “middle-class” suburbs as I hear of more and more people wearing their coats at home as they cannot afford heating or the apartment buildings they live in have not been supping them with heating since at least 3 years. But I’ve stressed this before….