Wednesday Jan 18, 201203:34 PM GMT
Greece faces rise in homeless rate
Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:20PM
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A homeless sleeps outside the headquarters of the Bank of Greece as a pedestrian passes in Athens, on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012.
As the number of unemployed Greeks continues its rapid climb, the debt-stricken Athens government is looking for ways to shelter the newly homeless.


The number of homeless in Greece has risen by 25 percent since 2009, many of them are unemployed Greeks who have been hit by some economic hardship.

This comes while Greeks are forced to endure a fifth consecutive year of recession with the debt crisis deepening, austerity cuts taking their toll and unemployment rates surging.

Unemployment in Greece is now over 18 percent, while 20 percent of the population is threatened with poverty. Experts have warned of a looming humanitarian crisis.

Greek unions warned last year that the number of jobless people would exceed 20 percent in 2012, while a recent report by the International Monetary Fund has predicted that jobless numbers will continue to rise over the next two years to peak at 19.5 percent.

Since the Greek economic downturn which began in 2008, about 20,000 people have become homeless, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, officials insist that the belt-tightening and structural reforms underway will eventually change the EU's most uncompetitive economy for the better.

The EU and IMF have presented Greece with two rescue packages in return for specific austerity measures, which include the cutting of public sector salaries and pensions, increasing taxes and overhauling the pension system. The suggestion of these measures has sparked nationwide protests in Greece.

PG/HGH
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