PM agrees to homeless aid

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis agreed Friday to provide an ?urgent boost? to the municipal budget for the capital?s burgeoning homeless population while also seeking to revamp run-down parts of the city center.

Papademos told Kaminis that upgrading the city center and tackling its ?crucial problems? were one of his government?s priorities. No details were released about how much cash his debt-strapped administration can set aside for the city?s homeless, who have swollen to over 20,000.

Kaminis said the two men had agreed to move forward ?in leaps, not baby steps? on the city?s problems but appealed against the closure of government buildings in the center, noting that this would likely lead to more residents abandoning the area.

Papademos?s initiative was widely seen as a bid to indicate that the ex-banker?s administration might be transitional but is determined to tackle all aspects of governance, not just the challenge of putting Greece?s finances in order.

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