Refugees, workers and habitation

The following excerpt is taken from the conclusions of Employment Supervisors Maria Desypri and Anna Makropoulou concerning the issue of popular housing; although they refer to the first years of the period under examination, they are nonetheless relevant. (Mar. Desypri I ginaika kai i koinoniki pronoia, Athens, 1922)

'Almost all popular houses are squalid even when from time to time they appear whitewashed from the outside, because they are all badly built, with roofs through which you can often see the sky, damp earth for a floor, doors leaving big chinks and windows without panes. In the old quarters of both cities the situation is horrible.
Narrow streets. Old houses, many ready to crumble. Staircases the planks of which slip underneath the feet of the person who steps on them. Dry rotted floors, dirty and uneven from the planks that block the holes one on top of the other, together with tins that lacerate the feet of barefoot children. Grey walls on which mould and humidity draw bizarre patterns. Narrow courts, humid and dirty. Small rooms like holes. Rooms that used to be warehouses, kitchens or wash-houses. Basements without light, without air, deep basements, some without windows. [...] From every door emerge children, pale, yellow, sickly, with drawn faces, eyes red from trachomas, with reed-like legs that make them look like old people as they slowly move their wrinkled little bodies. Filth reigns supreme there.'