by the Social Service of the Athens Solidarity Center*
When we met Mr. S. at the Social Service of the Athens Solidarity Center, he informed us about how “I was forced to leave my country, not for a better life, but for staying alive”. In his country of origin, he was persecuted and deprived of his rights due to his political beliefs.
After arriving to Greece, 18 months ago, and filing for an asylum application, Mr. S., 39, was diagnosed with cancer. A new enemy now threatens his life. He undergoes the necessary chemotherapy and treatment in a public hospital, but his health condition is worsened by the difficulties of daily living, most notably the lack of housing.
For these issues he sought help to the Athens Solidarity Center and our social service. Every time Mr. S. completes a short treatment in hospital, he anxiously strives for a place to stay, someone to accept to host him, a process inappropriate and risky for his health.
We applied for housing following the procedures provided by the accommodation program for asylum seekers; and of course, we met the inadequacies and torturous delays of the bureaucratic system. Yet, with persistent effort and constant care, we managed to secure a housing position in a shorter period than usual.
The next time he leaves the hospital, Mr. S knows that his has a home now. A safe place where he can rest, eat better, and take care of himself. And we know that we were contributors to his efforts for a life of dignity and hope.
* Since May 2019, the Athens Solidarity Center is financed by EEA and Norway Grants, with HumanRights360 and CROWE Greece as the fund operator. The Center is also supported by the Municipality of Athens.