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Greek Australians helping homeless and vulnerable groups in homeland

Emfasis Foundation volunteers assisting homeless people in Greece. Source: Supplied: Solonas Malkas

“The critical support from 'The Hellenic Innitiative Australia" will allow us to continue to help improve the life conditions of people living on the streets in Athens, where the need is as great as ever," says Emfasis Foundation co-founder Maria Karra. She talks to SBS Greek.

"Greece is a very beautiful country. But this country’s image often puts a veil over the tragic problems faced by many of Greeks."

This is what the co-founder of “Emfasis Foundation”, Maria Karra, an Athens-based independent non-profit and non-governmental organization". 

Emfasis Foundation volunteers assisting homeless people in Greece.
Emfasis Foundation volunteers assisting homeless people in Greece.
Supplied

She told SBS Greek that the problem of homelessness in Greece at this time, although there is no official number, affects at least 30,000 people.

“We see people sleeping on street benches or begging. There is a large part of the Greek population who has no permanent residence or work, and is often hosted or cohabiting with other people in conditions that are not considered safe," she adds. 

Emfasis Foundation volunteers assisting homeless people in Greece.
Emfasis Foundation volunteers assisting homeless people in Greece.
Supplied

A concerning issue that many volunteers have noticed is the abandonment of many elderly people. 

Recently, the "Hellenic Initiative Australia" announced an AU$35,000 grant to fund the "Emfasis" Mobile Support Unit (MSU) for a second year, supporting more than 1300 homeless people and rough sleepers in Athens and Piraeus. 

Emfasis Foundation volunteers assisting homeless people in Greece.
Emfasis Foundation volunteers assisting homeless people in Greece.
Supplied

These teams cover neighborhoods where homeless and vulnerable groups are living rough and will be addressing people’s immediate needs by distributing food and survival kits, they provide a critical link to social support services. 

Emfasis Foundation volunteers assisting homeless people in Greece.
Emfasis Foundation volunteers assisting homeless people in Greece.
Supplied

*Thank you to photographer Solon Malkas for his kind contribution to the making of this article.  

Press Play on the main photo to listen to the podcast (in Greek). 

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