Closure of Athens homeless shelter in snowstorm causes stir

10 January 2017
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The City of Athens has launched disciplinary action against a municipal worker who shut down a homeless shelter in the city center in the middle of a snowstorm on Monday night because his shift was over.

The worker reportedly asked dozens of homeless people who had sought protection from the freezing weather to leave the heated premises when his shift came to an end because the worker on duty next had called in and said he could not come to work. He also failed to report the absence of the night-shift worker to his superiors, according to the ANA-MPA news agency, and chose to close the shelter instead of waiting for a replacement.

The shelter was reopened after more than an hour-and-a-half when authorities were notified.

The issue has raised a storm on social media after a resident posted a video on Facebook detailing his ordeal while trying to help a homeless man in his neighborhood.

The video of the resident explaining how he found the shelter closed after accompanying the homeless man to what he thought was safer quarters had over 26,000 views by Tuesday afternoon.

Facebook user “Themis” Vas said that he had called the shelter in advance and checked that it was open but upon arrival was told by the municipal worker that the premises was being closed because his shift had ended.

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