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Why tens of thousands of families could be evicted in Brazil from November


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At least 188,000 families may have to leave their homes as of this November 1st in Brazil, according to estimates by organizations and social movements.

This is because a decision by Minister Luís Roberto Barroso, of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), released evictions and repossessions after more than a year of prohibition during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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In June 2021, the minister ordered the suspension of orders to evict inhabited areas before March 20, 2020, when the state of public calamity was approved in the country due to the pandemic.

According to him, the objective was “to prevent collective evictions and evictions from violating the rights to housing, life and health of the populations involved.”

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In August of this year, the majority of the STF plenary extended the suspension until October 31 – they only voted against ministers Kassio Nunes Marques and André Mendonça.

In recent days, left-wing parties and social movements have called for another renewal, but Barroso decided this Monday to release the eviction and release of possession actions.

Barroso determined that Courts of Justice in the states, in addition to the TRFs (Regional Federal Courts), create land dispute mediation commissions to support judges in complying with repossession orders.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Defender’s Office will have to participate in these meetings.

In the decision, the minister also pointed out that families removed and in a situation of social vulnerability should be sent to shelters — they will also have to be included in alternative housing programs, such as rent aid.

For Benedito Roberto Barbosa, from the Union of Housing Movements of São Paulo, Barroso’s decision is positive because “it organizes and disciplines the way in which reintegration orders must be carried out by the Justice”.

“But it is not yet known what the impact of the decision will be and how the Justice, city halls and state governments will organize themselves to comply with the minister’s determinations”, he said.


In practice, Barroso’s decision allowed the resumption of evictions of individual tenants.

And it also authorized the resumption of collective evictions of areas occupied by housing movements and that have judicial decisions of reintegration – for this, evictions must be discussed in the mediation commissions to be created.

The Zero Eviction Campaign, which brings together organizations and social movements that work against the forced eviction of people, only compiles the number of families at risk of collective evictions — both from public and private areas.

Individual dumps are not compiled. In other words, the number of people affected by Barroso’s decision may be much greater than the 188,000 families calculated by the campaign.

According to estimates, the Southeast is the region with the highest number of threatened families, 80,000. Then comes the Northeast, with 51 thousand; North, with 49 thousand; Midwest, 29 thousand; and South, with 18 thousand.

The state of São Paulo, with 64,000 families threatened with eviction, will be the most affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.

According to Benedito Roberto Barbosa, who also works in the Zero Eviction Campaign, there are 80 occupations with immediate repossession orders in São Paulo.

For Raquel Ludermir, from the Zero Eviction Campaign, eviction has material and psychological impacts on family members.

“Eviction is devastating for a family. It means not having a roof over your head, having nowhere to put your things, having nowhere to go back to at the end of the day”, says Raquel Ludermir, from the Zero Eviction Campaign.

“But there is also a psychological impact: the fear and uncertainty of having to wake up in the middle of the night and having nowhere to go. We know that children in these families lose access to education, health care and social assistance”, explains.

According to Ludermir, with the expropriations, it is quite likely that the size of the homeless population in large cities, such as São Paulo, will also increase.

The city’s latest census showed that 32,000 people currently live on the streets of São Paulo.

The country is also suffering from an increase in hunger, which exacerbates the vulnerability of the evictees.

According to the National Survey on Food Insecurity, 33.1 million Brazilians are suffering from hunger — 15.5% of the Brazilian population.

For Felipe de Freitas Moreira, architect, urban planner and researcher at the Laboratory of Housing and Human Settlements at USP, the possible eviction of thousands of people “happens at a time when social housing policies are being dismantled.”

In the budget sent to Congress, President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), defeated by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) last Sunday, reduced the amount allocated to the Casa Verde e Amarela housing program in 2023 to just R$34.1 million, 95% drop in value this year.

“The consequences of these cuts are very serious for the low-income population, especially for families with incomes of up to the minimum wage. It is as if there is no longer a national program that can cater to families in a state of vulnerability”, he says.

“We have a very big challenge in the housing area ahead,” he says.

Casa Verde e Amarela was launched by Bolsonaro to replace the program Minha Casa, Minha Vida, created by the PT.

In his speech after the victory, Lula stated that he will resume the previous project.

“We cannot accept as normal that entire families are forced to sleep on the streets, exposed to the cold, rain and violence. Therefore, we are going to resume Minha Casa Minha Vida, with priority for low-income families, and bring back inclusion programs”, said Lula.


Even with the previous ban, between March 2020 and September this year, about 35,200 families were forcibly removed from their homes in the country.

One of the effects of these evictions was the formation of “hyperperipheries” in neighborhoods on the extremes of São Paulo and the metropolitan region, as reported by BBC News Brasil.

In short, these points of refuge for the homeless are located in neighborhoods at the extremes of the municipality, such as Grajaú and Campo Limpo, or in the metropolitan region, in cities such as Itapecerica da Serra and Carapicuíba.

For Kazuo Nakano, a professor at the Cities Institute at Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo), the hyperperipheries “are more distant and more precarious nuclei of recent occupation, on the fringes of the metropolitan region.”

“They resume this pattern of wooden houses, dirt streets and without basic infrastructure. It is as if it were the periphery of the periphery”, says the urbanist.

The number of irregular occupations grew 136% in the city of São Paulo between February 2020 and September this year. Today there are 516 occupations of housing movements monitored by the city hall.

This text was originally published here.

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