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Support Solidarity House p.a.l.m.i.e.r. in Athens.
Each according to his/her ability,
to each according to his/her needs.
Solidarity House p.a.l.m.i.e.r. is a 7-flat house in the center of Athens rented last summer in order to serve as a collective and solidarian housing project. Inside, reside 40 refugees of all ages and of around 10 different nationalities. All of them used to live in refugee squats that no longer exist, as a result of the repressive policies of the new Greek government.
After the long summer of migration in 2015 a number of refugee’ housing squats emerged in Athens. Throughout the closure of the borders of the Balkan route, they became spaces of safety and freedom, offering living conditions far better than the disastrous official refugee camps. Most of the refugee’ squats were paradigms of practical solidarity and self-organization, sending to the whole of Europe and beyond the message of resistance to racism and the anti-migration policies. At most they constituted a real-existing alternative of self-organized everyday life and of transnational struggle in contrast to the rising extreme right and the spreading of the politics of fear and hate.
After the repression of the refugee’ squats in summer and autumn 2019, the residents of squats had very limited housing alternatives. Hundreds of them were moved by the police to distant and isolated refugee camps, camps that lack basic infrastructures and services, whilst many children had to interrupt school suddenly. Better conditions would be offered by the official housing programs in hotels and flats (UNHCR, IOM, EU) but they are restricted in numbers and designated to concrete nationalities and refugees categorized as “vulnerable”.
Furthermore, the general deterioration of living conditions and housing opportunities for refugees, has contributed to the real estate booming in Greece, which as a consequence has led to serious rent increases. The wave of touristification based on the cheap flights and the airbnb platform, as well as the policy for “attracting investment” of the Golden Visa, led to rental prices skyrocketing in most Greek cities, and in many areas of Athens rents doubled over the course of just one year. Meaning, that the poor and the precarious people, those who are suffering under the perpetuated ”Greek crisis”, are those who now face the exclusion from the right to dignified housing.
In this situation, having an urgent need for a housing alternative, a group of locals and refugees active in the solidarity movement, decided to find a more permanent solution by renting a large house. The idea behind this was one of a self-organized housing project, building upon the experiences of the last years and retaining the red fade of the common struggles of both locals and refugees. So this summer, with the crucial support of international solidarity and local donations, we managed to rent the 7-flat building in the center of Athens and to create a new space of safety and solidarity for around 40 refugees.
The majority of the refugees residing in the new building, have decided to stay in Greece, having the need for a more stable everyday life and social network. Others are still waiting for their asylum claims to be examined, having a less clear perspective for their future and struggling to secure an income. Our solidarity house tries to combine these different needs and perspectives: 3 of the flats are “solidarity apartments” which are shared by around 20 men and women of different ages, whilst the other 4 are “family apartments”. The common space of the solidarity house consists of a back yard and a roof top, where a room is kept as a “visitors room.”
In the Solidarity House p.a.l.m.i.e.r. we want to create a solidarity community, a community of mutual support and shared responsibility. The basic principle is that all of the residents support the project “each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her needs.” This means that the ones who have an income are contributing by paying a proportion of the rent and the general costs of the house. Whilst the remaining amount will be covered by local and international supporters, as well as by solidarity events and fund raising campaigns. In this way people who lack the means of monetary contribution can still have a safe residence, as well as the time to regain power and autonomy in their lives.
To summarize the needs to this day: The rent is 2.500 euros. The sum of the contributions by the residents accounts for 1.500 euros per month while the remaining 1.000 has to be covered by solidarity funds. Until now we managed to cover the transition and the expenses of the first months (including the rents, the guarantee and the repairs). However there is a need for support in order to continue. Our first goal is to be able to keep the house going for one year! In order to be on the safe side we hope to raise 2.000 euros per month, in order to cover the part of the rent and insurance for the building, logistics and the cost of possible repairs (for example to repair the heating system would cost 4.500 euros) but also in order to be prepared for the possibility that some residents may not be able to contribute consistently to the costs. .
That is why we are calling for support of persons and groups who share and feel the necessity of such projects in Athens. We are calling for people in solidarity, former residents of squats who now reside abroad, the various collectives and the solidarity groups. Most of all, permanent donations of a small amount of money every month are needed, in order to guarantee the payments of the main costs. Since costs are running, we would highly appreciate it if you could discuss this matter among your friends and collectives.
Please let us know if it would be possible for you to support this project of ongoing solidarity by donating 10 to 50 Euros per month for 1 year continuously. Donations can be given through the the account of “Plateia Allilegyis” (we can provide German donation certificates). Also, direct donations in materials or money are more than welcomed! In the case that you are in Athens, don’t hesitate to contact and visit us.
Help our p.a.l.m.i.e.r. solidarity house to survive,
keep the the flame of solidarity alive,
regain the hope and the power for the struggles to come.
Solidarity will win!
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