The welfare services provided by the City of Athens, which include soup kitchens that feed more than 1,400 people a day and two homeless shelters, are in danger of being stopped because staff contracts are due to expire and new hires are not in place, officials said on Wednesday.

Nikos Kokkinos, who heads the City of Athens Homeless Shelter (KYADA), which also runs the soup kitchens and the “social grocery,” said that the one-year contracts of 48 staff will run out on November 14. An application has already been made for 61 employees to be hired on new one-year deals but this needs the approval of the Administrative Reform and Finance ministries, which has not yet been received. Kokkinos said that once the hires are approved, another two months would be needed before the new staff can take up their positions.

“If the welfare services stop working, it will be disastrous,” he said. “We act as a sea wall against poverty.”