Without a job and homeless Leonidas Koursoumis never gave up his dream to build a new life. He established a secondhand bookstore run exclusively by homeless people in Athens.
Relegated to the ranks of Greeks made homeless during the country’s economic crisis, one 70-year-old man reclaimed some of his past glory by taking matters into his own hands.
“We received books from all over the country. We have approximately 50,000 books for sale right now,” he said with pride. His book bazaar found its current temporary home thanks to an anonymous donor.
Leonidas Koursoumis’ bookstore is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. People come to buy books or to offer ones they no longer need
That first official call to donate was a huge success, as were the ones that followed. “The money we got covered renting a house for six months,” he said with a smile.
Today Leonidas has even bigger dreams: He is hopeful that he and his friends can regain part of their old lives. He wants to create a community center run by the homeless for the homeless at the new permanent spot he has found in the Tavros neighborhood, open a second bookstore. He wants to help as many homeless people as possible.
The number of homeless people in Athens has swelled dramatically in recent years. While in the very beginning of the economic crisis, about 70% foreigners and 30% Greeks were homeless, their number drastically increased in the last four years.
According to a 2017 report by FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organizations Working with the Homeless) about 15,000 people are without a home in the wider region of the Attica peninsula, which includes the Greek capital. The actual number though is hard to estimate, as many never ask for help. ”
Full story Deutsche Welle