ATHENS, Greece —Nearly every day, Panos Kotssamanis visits a park near the historic Agios Sostis church in Athens to get a free lunch from one of the many soup kitchens in the city.

“Everybody who is homeless and unemployed knows where to find food,” Kotssamanis says.

Before the Greek crisis started, Kotssamanis was working in a hotel and making close to €1,000 every month — about $1,100. Two years ago, the hotel closed and Kotssamanis lost his job. The financial aid ended a year ago, and now he has no income.

Kotssamanis’ mother left him her house when she died, and that’s where he lives now, not having to worry about paying the rent. His brother helps him out when he needs it. That, along with some money left in the bank, pays for the monthly bills of electricity and water.

“I’m okay,” he says. “I’m almost never hungry.”He adds, half apologetically: “I’m a little hungry, but not too much.”

Kotssamanis says he has gotten really good at finding food in Athens. He knows how to pick it from the garbage and knows every restaurant that offers free food.

A man looking for food in rubbish bins in central Athens, Greece, 20 June 2015.Read more…




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