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Down and Out in Athens - hope springs from a homeless shelter

On the streets of Athens, austerity has a face.

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Down and Out in Athens - hope springs from a homeless shelter

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On the streets of Athens, austerity has a face. More than seventy per cent of homeless people in the Greek capital ended up on streets in the past five years.

But as the cold winter nights draw in, there is some hope among the despair.

At 14 Evripidou Street, Mr Costas and Mrs Sofia open the doors to their shelter where homeless people have a chance to eat a cooked meal, take a shower, and wash their clothes.

The couple have been trying to help the homeless for 25 years. At the day shelter there are about 680 regulars, but more and more arrive each day.

“I have been here the last 5 years, I came for the first time to eat, and now I do here everything, all the chores. I live in a guest house of the municipality of Athens, I lost my parents, so I am here helping and I like what I do,” volunteer Kostas Darmis explained.

Situated on the top two floors of the building volunteers offer help with no questions asked about visitors’ past. The founder told our reporter that they are only interested in the future.

“We always try to tell them that there is hope, hope never dies as they say. Because this is what they say, that they have no hope. But it is not true,” Kostas Vitalakis, Founder of Shelter of Love and Support said.

Euronews reporter Fay Doulgkeri reports: “The most important thing for the people that come here is that even for a few hours they can find a home. They say that they find hope. But after 8 o’clock in the night, the shelter closes, so their adventures on the streets begin again.”