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News > Latin America

Brazil: Temer's Austerity Blocks Construction of 79,500 Houses

  • Tents belonging to homeless families in a square in Sao Paulo's downtown, Brazil, June 27, 2018.

    Tents belonging to homeless families in a square in Sao Paulo's downtown, Brazil, June 27, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 August 2018

Social organizations said the lack of public investment confirms the government's "lack of commitment to the poorest."

Brazil's Planning, Budget and Management Ministry has announced that construction of almost 80,000 social interest housing units is being blocked as a result of the government's austerity plan.


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The 2019 budget won't be enough to build 29,500 houses for the 'My House, My Life' social program, along with 50,000 additional units in rural areas.

The houses were promised by Cities Minister Alexandre Baldy, after strong pressure from social movements and the national march for the right to the city in June.

The Brazilian government is implementing general austerity measures and restructuring the budget for 2019, cutting funds for social programs.

Evaniza Rodrigues, from the National Union for Peoples' Houses, said Temer told social organizations that the Housing, Sanitation and Urban Mobility Ministry will be granted US$1.6 billion for its projects, which is not enough to cover the social interest houses.

"It's a consequence of the Constitutional Amendment Proposal (PEC), which freezes public investment for 20 years in all areas, confirming this government's lack of commitment to the poorest," said Rodrigues.

Adilson da Silva poses for a photo inside a tent where he lived for months with his wife and son in a square in Sao Paulo’s downtown, in June 27, 2018. Da Silva was denied immediate inclusion in a program to get an affordable housing in the city. Photo | Reuters

According to a 2015 report by the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), using oficial information, Brazil has a housing deficit of 7.7 million. Rodrigues says that about 90 percent of the people in need of a house have incomes below three minimum salaries.

“They don't have another alternative to get a house,” she continues. “They live in irregular, precarious, unhealthy houses, which they got by their own means or through public programs.”

Social movements fighting for dignified housing claim that the govenment's housing policy, paralized since 2016, is producing more irregular occupations and forcing people to build their own houses out of unreliable materials in risk zones.

“They're producing a time bomb for the next governement, which will have to start all over again, because they won't even leave a budget,” says Rodrigues.

Brazil will have its presidential elections on October, which the former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as the definitive favorite, despite being incarcerated on passive corruption charges.

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