Occupy to survive: Brazilians squat to fight for housing rights | Homelessness


Sao Paulo, Brazil – 4-year-old Miguel jumps from one couch cushion to a different, his darkish curly hair bouncing round his face, as his father talks to a neighbour outdoors their one-room residence. A small, boxy tv set exhibits the information, a single window within the nook sits above a double mattress.

Miguel and his father, Cleber, are among the many final households residing within the historic Prestes Maia, an deserted constructing within the coronary heart of the Brazilian metropolis of Sao Paulo that has been occupied by housing rights activists since 2002. In the present day, the 22-storey high-rise is about to be vacated and remodeled into social housing for the households who’ve squatted right here over the previous few years.

“It’s great; it’s a giant win,” Cleber, who didn’t present a final identify, tells Al Jazeera. “I got here right here 4 or 5 years in the past. It was actually good to reside right here, [with] the alternatives it introduced us. There’s actually no different different.”

Sao Paulo is the de facto monetary capital of Brazil, identified for its lush structure, upscale eating places and unique neighbourhoods. However one other a part of city, hidden in plain sight, displays town’s deep housing disaster, together with the systemic racism and social inequality that plague this area.

As Latin America’s largest metropolis, Sao Paulo has failed for many years to unravel its extreme housing disaster. Greater than 1.2 million individuals are in want of satisfactory housing and, in accordance with figures on the speed of building supplied to Al Jazeera by town council in 2018, it might take 200 years to have sufficient social housing for everybody in want.

Towards this backdrop, hundreds of individuals have organised into squatting actions, taking issues into their very own palms by occupying dozens of buildings throughout town, together with the Prestes Maia.

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