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Cyprus

Family living in covered parking ‘not cooperating‘, welfare says

A family of four has been living in the covered parking lot of an abandoned bread factory in Limassol since March, but the state’s social welfare service claims they have not cooperated constructively in its efforts to support them, it said in a statement on Thursday.

Responding to a report in daily Politis, according to which a couple live in the semi-open space with their 27-year-old epileptic daughter and their 18-year-old son, the service said it contained “several substantial omissions and inaccuracies, to the extent that the completely false impressions are created”.

“The state’s social welfare service has long been monitoring the situation of this family and supporting its various needs, including housing, in multiple ways,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately, the family is not cooperating constructively in our efforts to give them support, so that the most urgent issues are dealt with.”

The service added that it will “continue to offer support to the family, in hopes that the required cooperation will be forthcoming”.

Politis had reported an encounter with the family, in which the mother, Olivia, said “I am ashamed of being alive”.

“I wish I were to pass away so that I can’t recall my son’s words from yesterday, when he stood in the rain and yelled ‘why?’,” Olivia told the paper.

She said the family used to live in a flat, which they had to abandon after they couldn’t make rent, at which point they moved to the warehouse her husband rented for work, until he shut down his business and they had to leave that, too.

“At that point the social welfare office approved €1,000 for housing, but what can you spend on first with that money? We lived in a hotel room until the money ran out, then we ended up here.”

She said the family took nothing with them other than the family car, a couple of mattresses and some clothes.

“No appliances or furniture,” she said.

“We sold everything so we could stay alive.”

The family, Olivia said, lives on the periodic work father and son are able to find and the monthly allowance the daughter receives from the state for her medical condition, but only after covering her medical expenses and treatments.

“When the money runs out, we are forced to ask for help from neighbouring businesses,” she said.

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