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Doctors, firefighters deployed to islands cannot find affordable housing during tourism season

Α doctor transferred over the summer season to a public facility on the island of Skiathos was asked to pay a rent of  2,500 euros per month. Seasonal firefighters who have been assigned to serve during the fire season in regions away form their homes are being accommodated in fire stations.

“Lucky” firefighters and doctors who move to the islands of the Northern Sporades to offer their services are forced to live in houses – slums for which they hand down almost half their salary, or as guests or in shared flats to share the exorbitant rents during the summer months, when the needs are increased, local newspaper taxydromos.gr reported.

Firefighters and doctors are treated as… tourists and forced to sleep in fire stations and dispensaries until they can find accommodation without having to go financially broke.

Typical is the case of a doctor in Skiathos, who was asked to pay a rent of 2,500 euros per month, the daily pointed out.

According to the commander of the Volos Fire Service, Vangelis Karamintzas, as of May 1st, the prefecture’s firefighting forces were enhanced with 136 seasonal forest firefighters who, among others, were called to staff fire stations on the islands of the Northern Sporades.

Twenty days later, there are firefighters who have not been able to find housing and are either sleeping in stations or as guests to local residents.

The “lucky” ones who found accommodation, live in buildings characterized as slums, paying rents that even reach 400 euros. Others stay two by two and three by three together to be able to meet the high rents demanded of them.

The problem surface not this year and not only in the broader area of Magnisia and the North Sporades islands. The emerges every year and in many touristic areas as tourism started to break one record after the other.

There have been several and similar complaints by doctors, firefighters and teachers who often have to wait until the tourism season over to be able to move into a proper accommodation.

Every year, during the summer season, firefighters struggle to find a home and live in decent conditions on the islands of the Northern Sporades, without having to deposit the majority of their salary, taxydromos.gr noted.

The seasonal firefighters are deployed to the islands from May 1st until the end of October, as part of operational planning. Their salary does not exceed 800 euros per month.

The five-year contract was signed in 2019 by the current seasonal firefighters.  However, the conditions prevailing with rents in the Northern Sporades are probably a deterrent for future generations, the local newspaper underlined.

Additional firefighting personnel are expected to be deployed to the islands in mid-June to cover gaps. But no one can guarantee that they will find accommodation to stay and how much they will be asked to pay for it.

Karamintzas stressed that these 5-year contracts are without obligation to provide housing, but this carries the risk of throwing the whole plan for the fire season over board, should there be mass resignations for obvious reasons.

At the same time, property owners are trying to earn as much money as possible from the tourist exploitation of their properties, while Municipalities have not taken care of the issue in order to house professionals who offer services on the islands for the summer months.

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One comment

  1. Surely this is a problem that should be dealt with by central government.
    Firefighters are one of the most respected groups in Greece and should not be put in the financial situation as outlined in your report.
    Likewise, doctors and teachers who are drafted to the islands to provide an invaluable service.
    I am shocked that their pay can be as low as 800 euros per month.
    That is not a living wage but an insult. I know of many hotel and restaurant staff who earn as much as double that amount (plus tips).
    Come on, Mitsotakis, dig into the national coffers and reward these dedicated public servants with a decent salary.