#SocialJustice: Olga_“Now I feel safer and stronger to move on”

Olga was born and raised in Greece. She has lived in the Patisia area for more than 30 years of her life, living in the same house. Olga is proud to say she has always been punctual in her financial obligations towards third parties, ensuring a decent standard of living for herself.

Things have changed for her in the last years. She has been unemployed, and her age has not allowed her to re-enter the labor market. Her financial situation worsened as a result of policies imposed due to country’s poor financial situation. Olga had to adapt to the new conditions, change her lifestyle and worry about whether she would be able to meet her basic needs, even her housing needs. And indeed, she was not always consistent in the payment of her rent. Due to this, she was sued by her landlord for the unpaid rent and, with short deadlines, in less than a month, she risked being left homeless, and losing all her belongings.

She visited the organization’s Solidarity Center in Athens seeking the support of the legal service. With the support and mediation of a lawyer, Olga solved her immediate problem, which was none other than securing her housing. Following the legal procedures, she finally signed a debt settlement agreement with her landlord and remained at her home, getting the time needed to adjust her life to her new financial condition.

At the same time, she was empowered by the legal team to become more active in her new reality, that of shrinking income. She was also informed of all the social services provided by the civil society organizations supporting and helping to cover the deficits of the welfare state, which ultimately leads to a deficit in social justice. Unemployment, in combination with austerity policies, lead to an expansion of economic and social inequality for this population, threatened by the consequences of income loss, and challenges even the most basic goods and services of a welfare state.

*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.