METAdrasi, supported by foundations and with the invaluable contribution of the Municipality of Athens, has established the first dormitory for homeless unaccompanied minors, a groundbreaking initiative on a national and European level.
During its pilot operation, the dormitory, will begin by accommodating up to sixty children, but eventually will have the capacity to accommodate up to one hundred unhoused minors. This facility will fill a significant gap, providing children with an appropriate and safe space where they eat, sleep, wash their clothes, access and meet all their basic needs until a long-term solution is secured.
Thus, in conjunction with METAdrasi’s Day Center and Mobile Unit, homeless children will now have a temporary safe space where they can access the support they need to break the vicious cycle of homelessness and the interconnected threats that housing precarity brings.
METAdrasi will cover the operating costs of the dormitory with its own resources, using part of the humanitarian prize awarded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
THE SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR HOMELESS CHILDREN
The development of a support system for homeless children had become an absolute priority for METAdrasi, and was realized thanks to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s humanitarian prize and the support of other foundations that backed this initiative. The Day Center for homeless children began its operation at the end of 2019, whilst with the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, METAdrasi created a Mobile Unit for locating and providing direct assistance to children on the streets of Athens. Nonetheless, the tragic conditions facing unaccompanied children experiencing homelessness remained unresolved.
Creating a dormitory for children was a great challenge. After many months struggling to secure both the appropriate space and the requisite resources, METAdrasi is now ready to officially announce the opening of the first-ever dormitory for homeless children in the city of Athens.
In addition to unaccompanied children, the dormitory is open to support tens of children who, due to urgent circumstances, have been abandoned by their family and are without relatives who can support them.
To accomplish the establishment of this initiative we had the support of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that in 2020 covered part of the equipment and the costs for the conversion of the dormitory, as well as the support of the Municipality of Athens, with which METAdrasi has signed a memorandum of cooperation. Already, through the municipal “Adopt Your City” program, private corporations such as Bed & Bath, IKEA of the Fourlis Group, PMM Public Media Markt, Unilever and Sanitas (of the Sarantis Group) have responded to the call of the Athens municipality and have donated necessary equipment including washing machines, personal hygiene items and other consumable goods.
The three-pronged approach to supporting homeless children, consisting of the Day Center, Mobile Unit, and the Dormitory will contribute immensely to the protracted and unresolved problems that prosecutors and police departments desperately face due to the absence of viable housing alternatives for these vulnerable children.
“We expect the state will stand by our side in this effort and hope the dormitory will become a model for the establishment of other dormitories in major Greek cities, where similar issues of homelessness amongst children are evident” states METAdrasi’s President, Lora Pappa.