Before moving from Athens to mykonos last September, the philologist Maria Moschovou He had started looking for a home. She searched through brokers, searched online, searched, but couldn’t find anything. After all, it was still high season on the island of the winds. At some point she wrote an ad on Facebook and through a friend of an acquaintance, she found the first accommodation.
It was a container in Klouvas, a town between Chora and Ano Mera. The kitchen was communal: “some child cut his hair there and often had hair”, says to “k”. There was a garbage dump 50 meters from the house. “Everyone told me to take whatever was in front of you,” says Ms. Moschovou, “but the conditions were bad, I didn’t feel very safe there.” She soon began searching again.
“I went door to door, asking at butcher shops, kiosks, greengrocers,” he says, looking for someone who could rent a house. The method worked and in October she moved to a house in Argyraina, “very close to the school”, says Ms. Moschovou. Her agreement with her landlady was that she would stay in the house until May, it was not clear exactly when in May: “no contracts”, explain to “K”, “if there are contracts you can’t find a house”. “He kept his word,” he says of his landlady, “and he fired me on May 12; some of his colleagues have been fired since April 10.”
HE school season, however, it ends on June 30. Giorgos Rousounelos, president of the Mykonos municipal council and the municipal education committee, helped her find her third house. She now lives with two other roommates in Ano Mera, until June 30. “It has definitely created a lot of insecurity for us all this time, not only because of the need to find a house, but also because of the problem it creates for the school: if I didn’t find a house, we would have to talk about distance learning in the middle of exams. “he emphasizes. in “K” Mrs. Moschovou. “But,” she points out, “Mykonians want to go for the season.”
“A Little Odyssey”
When the school year ends, Mrs. Moschovou will no longer declare IV Cyclades as a deputy. “I’ll pass this on to my colleagues, don’t go to the D’ Cyclades,” she says. Because of the problem facing teachers in Mykonos, islands like Andros and Kythnos will also pay, she notes. “The other schools are understaffed, unfortunately,” she emphasizes, but she can’t have a year like this again. “It was a little odyssey”, she tells her to “K”. “It is not possible on an island with 200,000 beds that there are not 200,” she stresses, “I have the impression that they are not interested in education.”
“If there are contracts, you can’t find a house” – “Until last year we said that houses are expensive, this year we say that they simply don’t exist.”
The accommodation problem worsened this year, says Mr. Rousunelos to “K”., when the number of teachers who stayed outside the residence was 25. Last year there were 15. Before the coronavirus there were 2-3, he says. “The problem is increasing, governments should incentivize tenants who have houses in Mykonos to rent to teachers,” she says, stressing that it is not just teachers who need houses reclaimed by tourism. “They are also police officers, health workers, firefighters, civil servants,” he adds. As for the teachers, “at the moment they got comfortable,” he says. “Either they found a house through the municipality,” he emphasizes, “or the municipality paid for houses and they live.” “We try to help them, we try to rent houses for the teachers to live in,” says the mayor of Mykonos, Konstantinos Koukas. But the problem is not only in Mykonos.
In santorini, some teachers who were left out of their homes, are housed until the end of the school year in classmates’ houses. Others had fewer alternatives and will camp, says Ioannis Miliadis, president of primary education teachers of Thira and the islands. “Until last year we said that houses are expensive, this year we say that there are simply no houses”, he underlines. Some teachers are forced to rent hotel rooms out of pocket, she says, while others have nothing to pay. “We had a colleague who stayed at the school for about 10 days in September, he didn’t have to pay for a hotel, the conditions are third world,” emphasizes Mr. Miliadis.
“As long as tourism is going well, we will have a problem,” says Anthi Patramani, president of the Thira Association of Secondary Education Officers (ELME), noting that doctors and other officials in Santorini also have problems with housing. “Some had agreements up to 6.30 and these agreements were breached,” he points out.
“The population of the islands is growing and this is not a problem that will last 1 or 2 years, it will continue,” says Mr. Miliadis. He adds that they have proposed solutions, such as providing rooms in large hotel units for 1-2 months, for which the teachers will give some economic compensation and perhaps the State will give hoteliers the incentive of tax exemption, or build houses social. on municipal lots.
Mr. Koukas, the mayor of Mykonos, says that Mykonos was the first island where, since 2018, a municipal dormitory has been operating to provide free accommodation, provided certain criteria are met, to teachers. But it is obvious that the problem continues and not only in the Cyclades.
“There is also a problem in Heraklion and in everything CreteIt’s a national issue.” Areti Spahi says, President of ELME Heraklion Crete. Because of tourism, he points out, but also because students meet their housing needs too early, rents are either unavailable or too expensive for teachers, especially low-paid new hires. “Local colleagues serve teachers who come from other regions,” says Ms. Spahi. “It is necessary,” she stresses, “to give space to the newly appointed, the problem of survival is very big.”
“You have to do two things”
“He has no houses, only things” says Grigoris Tasios to “K”., president of the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers and candidate for parliament with New Democracy in the May 21 elections. “Right now there is a problem with the houses that not only the teachers, but various other public officials are looking for,” he points out. In his opinion, the biggest problem is that short-term rentals have not been regulated. “That’s why,” he points out, “most people go for easy money from May to October, when a teacher or civil servant needs housing for 12 months.” Two things must be done to improve the situation, he says. “First, to present the operational framework for short-term leasing, which the government has promised for its next term,” emphasizes Mr. Tassios. The second refers to the country’s local land plans-“let’s look at the settlements, that is, so that we have specific conditions and specifications for permanent residence,” he declares. Regarding giving hotel rooms, for a certain amount of money, to teachers for 1-2 months, he says that such a thing cannot be done. “Hoteliers cannot do this when they have contracts with tourism agencies of 150 to 190 days”, he explains to “K”. “Hotels,” says Mr. Tasios, “are not for long stays, they are for a few days.”
“Hands tied” from the ministry, without funds or institutions
He Ministry of Educationas a high-ranking executive informed “K” yesterday de, works in addition to the effort to find a home for the whole year for teachers who are located in school units in tourist areas, since the corresponding burden falls on the local government. As a characteristic, as the problem begins to appear at the beginning of the school year, the educational administrative mechanism informs the municipalities of the needs based on the number of appointments and contracts in each region, however, it does not have the institutional framework, nor the funds . to provide housing for kindergarten teachers, teachers and professors.
At the same time, in previous years, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Alexandros Koptsis, communicated at the beginning of the school year with the municipalities of the islands where there was a problem to find a solution, since the problem has two aspects for the Ministry. of Education.
The first is related to the residence of the teachers who accepted the position on the island and the second with the refusal – which often happens – of the teachers to accept positions on islands, especially where they know that the rental prices are very high. This works like a domino, as the ministry is forced to fill vacancies at a later stage.
Of course, the possibility of intervention by the Ministry of Education, with the current legislative framework, is even more limited in the event that the owners request that the lease of the houses expire before the end of the school year.
The educational administrative mechanism informs the municipalities about the needs based on the number of appointments and contracts in each region.
For their part, the educational federations are even calling for legislation to ensure the stay of teachers from the island regions, even with the leasing of the necessary number of tourist accommodation.
The problem is broader for the government. “This is a problem that concerns not only teachers, but also doctors, perhaps other specialties in the relevant areas,” government representative Yannis Oikonomou said on September 12, 2022, adding that “we must find ways to address this issue, in combination with local communities and Local Government, possibly also in the framework of housing policy, possibly also with other avenues and initiatives to be undertaken”.
The Presidency of the Government has prepared a package of incentives for the permanence of officials -teachers, doctors, security forces- on the islands, whose economic implications are expected to be evaluated by the General State Accounting Office.
The incentives for teachers and health workers, who are asked to bear the greatest burden due to the importance of their role, are aimed at their economic support, the improvement of living and working conditions, and the strengthening of their professional profile.