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  • Vice President of the Workers’ Party at Sao Paulo Jilmar Tatto (c) holds a banner saying ‘Action in defense of popular housing’ in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 24, 2019.

    Vice President of the Workers’ Party at Sao Paulo Jilmar Tatto (c) holds a banner saying ‘Action in defense of popular housing’ in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 24, 2019. | Photo: Twittter / @jilmartatto

Published 25 April 2019

A 2015 Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) report reads Brazil has a housing deficit of 7.7 million.

The Sao Paulo's Union of Movements for Housing (UMM) is demanding the 'Right to Decent Dwelling,' taking to the streets across the state to insist that the government implement its policies to provide affordable housing.

Demostrations took place Wednesday in Osasco, Suzano, Santos, Ribeirao Preto and Carapicuiba all within the State of Sao Paulo.

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Maria Aparecida Mattos, director of the Center for Housing in Surano (CEMOS) denounced Sao Paulo's Housing Secretary for not delivering on the over 29,000 homes promised to be constructed and available through the federal 'My House, My Life' (MCMV) program.

"The local government does not invest in housing," said Mattos, adding that "decent dwelling is necessary to have a better quality of life. Without an adequate place to live, you find yourself without roots," said the housing activist.

In a hearing before the House of Representatives, President Jair Bolsonaro's Minister of Regional Development, Gustavo Canuto, acknowledged that the federal housing budget has nearly been exhausted.

"My House My Life program was created by the Worker's Party (PT) to guarantee popular housing and to make construction investments to move the economy. Temer banned the poorest people from it. Bolsonaro maintains the blockade. Now the [construction] sector agonizes. Businessmen, you were wrong to choose the [presidential] candidate!" The meme's photo reads "Free Lula"

"We only have financial resources to continue until June," Minister Canuto said this week adding that there is no more money to build the homes.

Goias state lawmaker, Jose Nelto, criticized the minister's response and pointed out the seriousness of the situation. "Thirty million Brazilians do not have housing. This should not happen," said Nelto.

The was not always the case, however, UMM Director Graca Xavier reminded local media that Sao Paulo "was a pioneer" in investing in public housing.

Launched in March 2009, the MVMV program subsidized home purchases for low-income families. By 2018, this public initiative had allowed 14.7 million Brazilians to buy a home however, the right-wing President Michael Temer (2016 - 2018) had weakened the program that has been nearly eliminated by current head of state, Jair Bolsonaro.

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