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Scipiades, Erzsébet

ungarische Journalistin

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Népszava - Hungary | 16/11/2010

Hungary's homeless take refuge in sewers

Since 2007 Hungary has no longer had a government representative responsible for matters pertaining to the homeless. As a result homeless people have been progressively marginalised in Hungarian cities to the point where they now seek refuge in the sewers. Journalist Erzsébet Scipiades, who is known for her social reports, takes stock of the situation in the left-leaning daily Népszava: "There are places where it's not even permitted to beg silently (in the tourist districts in Szeged and Kaposvár) ... and where it's forbidden to rummage in the rubbish containers (Kapuvár, Mosonmagyaróvár, Csorna). People who fish discarded food from the garbage are fined 20,000 forints [roughly 72 euros] in Gyöngyös, 30,000 forints [roughly 110 euros] in Dombovár. If the person can't pay the fine they're sentenced to community labour. And if they're too weak for that they end up behind bars. ... In Budapest the social exclusion of the homeless has been going on for years. As they're no longer even safe in the surrounding forests, a growing number are making themselves invisible by fleeing underground."

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