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FEANTSA: Greeks face unbearable housing cost, far above the EU average

Households in Greece spend a greater portion of their income on housing cost  than those in any other country of the European Union country. A survey conducted  by the European Federation of National Organizations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) has found. At the same time, homelessness and housing problems reach crisis point in all EU countries, except for Finland.

  • 42.5 percent of Greek households spend more than 40 percent of their income on covering needs related to housing.

Those expenses concern the Unified Property Tax (ENFIA) and mortgage repayments for owners or rent for tenants, utility bills, heating etc.

  • Inability to maintain adequate temperatures in housing has significantly increased since 2009, for all of the population.

It is considered that when this expenditure exceeds 40 percent of income it is excessive and puts households at financial risk.

In euro terms, households spend an average of 440 euros per month on needs related to housing, which is 25 euros less than in 2009, However,  the drop in incomes in the meantime has been far greater than that.

FEANTSA stressed that the picture is even bleaker among households whose income is below 60 percent of the average in Greece, as 95 percent of them spend more than 40 percent of their income on housing.

According to a press release issued by FEANTSA, , housing exclusion and
homelessness are emerging as huge challenges for the EU.

Using the latest available Eurostat/EU-SILC data, the Second Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe 2017  highlights a housing exclusion
state of emergency in Europe.

This is an issue which affects all European countries, not just the ones struggling due to the financial crisis.

Countries such as the UK and the Netherlands are among those whose situation
has worsened since the First Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe.

Indeed, the UK now ranks 20th out of 28, with a broken housing market out of reach for poor and middle-class people.

In Germany, 16% of people spend more than 40% of their income on housing (known as housing cost overburden) – a situation second only to Greece.

In Romania, 1 out of 2 people live in overcrowded conditions.

In Greece all indicators are set to red with 95% of poor Greeks in housing cost overburden.

In all EU countries, young people are more vulnerable to prohibitive housing costs, overcrowding and severe housing deprivation than the rest of the population.

For poor young people across Europe, the situation is becoming unbearable, with 65% in Germany, 78% in Denmark and 58% in the UK spending more than 40% of their disposable income on housing.

The average in the EU is 48%.

In general, people living below the poverty threshold are increasingly marginalised by a private rental market than feeds off a systemic lack of affordable housing.

The number of 1 Poor categorised here as earning less than 60% of median income.

Evictions have increased dramatically in the aftermath of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis with an apocalyptic situation in Greece.

In all European countries, non-EU nationals are far more likely to face housing cost overburden and overcrowding than EU nationals.

Homelessness is rising in all countries, except Finland, and major cities such as London, Paris, Brussels, Dublin, Vienna, Athens, Warsaw and Barcelona are under strain.

In London, the number of families in temporary accommodation has increased by 50% since 2010, and in Copenhagen, youth homelessness has increased by 75% since 2009.

Since 2013, Warsaw saw an increase of 37% of people sleeping rough or in emergency shelters, and perhaps most shockingly of all,

  • 1 in 70 people in Athens are now homeless, most have become so since 2011.

Also shocking!

  • One child has become homeless in Dublin every five hours in January.

The Second Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe 2017 published by FEANTSA and the Fondation Abbé Pierre reveals alarming evidence of rising
homelessness across the majority of the European Union, as well as a dramatic picture of severe housing deprivation in almost all EU countries.

Now, more than ever, is the time for Juncker’s Commission to bridge the disconnect with its most vulnerable citizens and make full effective use of the policy instruments at its disposal.

What can be done at the European level?

The tools required to deal with the challenges of housing exclusion and , clear European incentives would give greater momentum to these proven solutions that deserve to be prioritised.

As the EU’s post-2020 Agenda is drafted, it is time for the Juncker Commission to prove it is not just all talk and no action.

The EU and the Member States can and should act to enforce social rights.

FEANTSA and Countries Profiles.

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  1. The increase in housing costs should be seen within the greater German EU (and Eurozone in particular) plan for seizing property away from citizens.
    This is why taxes such as the infamous ENFIA exist, this is why the property market was the first target of the Troika and this is why the Greek (occupied) state is so keen on imposing new taxes: the inability to pay is the license for confiscations. Remember that Greek law (as it were), deliberately does not allow tax returns of proceeds from sales of confiscated property. This means that for a debt of, say, 5000 euros, confiscated real estate worth and sold for 100000 carries no obligation for the state to return the difference.
    One of the targets of the memoranda and their German owners is the acquisition (theft) of all private property using such methods. Of course, those MPs and governments who help them do this are not traitors, they just want to …save the country…..

  2. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    The last published number of victims of “Energy-Poverty” in Spain was in 2014 7000 death-casualities