The “Survival” Open Social Squat opened its doors to everyone who needed a place to stay at October 2011, right after the “indignant movement” in Thessaloniki. In an abandoned building that used to be Saint Paul’s Hospital, first, a pensioner and an unemployed man decided to reclaim what belongs to everybody. People with different political backgrounds (mainly anarchists and leftist groups) were the first who came to support this effort. Gradually, more and more people from the neighborhood and the surrounding areas gathered to help and participate.
This initiative had broader political goals, than just answering the housing problem that many people are facing in Thessaloniki. The main idea was to create a home, where people from the streets can find a cause to keep on with their lives; to find a new way of living; to manage through their own work to repair the destroyed building and their destroyed lives; to help themselves and the squat survive with dignity and hope and pass it as a message of cooperation to the rest of us.
Disappointedly the catholic monastery “Sisters of Mercy”, which is the owner of the abandoned building and is also related to allegations of public money abuse for its restoration, asked the police to evacuate the squat and 32 people were thrown back on the streets some weeks before Christmas 2011. ‘Survival’ was a unique experience compared to previous and existing squats, since the only bond between the individuals who participated was the need to survive, starting from housing and getting to be active and useful again. It has not been revived yet, but it is an important precedent for similar future initiatives of housing through collective and solidarity actions.