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Athens homeless top 17,000

A housing benefit ranging between 70 and 220 euros a month will start to be handed out from Friday, initially going to just 1073 individuals throughout the country, Alternate Labour and Social Insurance Minister Theano Fotiou informed Parliament on Thursday. 

At the same time, she added, a study carried out by the University of Crete estimated the number of homeless in Athens alone at 17,720 people, many of them sleeping on the street or in their cars. 
 
She said that a subsidy to cover rent will eventually be given to 30,000 households, since only a third of the roughly 90,000 applicants could be catered for at this time.
 
Fotiou, who was replying to a question tabled by Potami party MP Spiros Lykoudis, underlined the huge task confronting state services as the humanitarian problem was constantly mounting, given that more than half a million people were currently struggling or unable to service their loans.
 
Despite "heroic efforts," she added, they were unable to cope with the problem due to both a lack of both funds and insufficient care structures.
Fotiou said that a more precise picture will emerge at the end of the week about how many of the 300,000 applying for various kinds of assistance under the provisions of the humanitarian crisis bill will receive benefits.