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PPPs in São Paulo may expel families that have lived for decades in some regions and others that occupied recent land after losing their homes during the pandemic

“There was so much mud here that I carried stones on my head to make a stone path for my daughter not to enter the school van with her shoe full of clay. We built all of this here ”, recalls Zenaide Nascimento Passos, 65, about the Futuro Melhor community, which she occupied 23 years ago with her husband and daughter Viviane, then 7 years old. Today, the 8 thousand families that form the occupation, in the extreme north of the city of São Paulo, are threatened with being evicted for the construction of a public-private partnership (PPP) housing project on the site.

Zenaide's family was one of the first to enter the land, which borders the Bispo stream, also in the north end of the city. Cleaner retired due to back problems, she built a house 11 years ago - before that, the family lived in a shack. Over more than two decades, Zenaide's family underwent some repossession attempts, all barred at the last minute by the Justice.

In 2015, the community developed an urbanization project with the Municipal Housing Secretariat. The plan, which would take basic sanitation to the families of Futuro Melhor, was shelved with the construction of the Mário Covas Ring Road. Since then, a part of the land that had been occupied less recently has been repossessed on the grounds that the families were living in a risk area.


In November 2018, the families of Futuro Melhor and the slum of Sapo, neighboring the occupation, discovered that their territory had been chosen to form a lot of the municipality's new housing plan: PPP Casa da Família.

For Paula Santoro, professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo (FAU-USP) and coordinator of the Public Space and Rights at LabCidade, the current PPP model built by the municipal government is contradictory. “The social impacts generated from this PPP occur in violation of the right to housing and threats of evictions. The account does not close, it threatens many more units than it will offer ”, she says.

Zenaide fears that Futuro Melhor will be affected by the PPP. “They don't want to make an apartment for us. They want to do it for the wealth", she complains. “I don't even know what would happen if we left here. I would be bewildered. I have nowhere to go, ” she says.


Her outburst has an explanation: the families that will be removed have no guarantee that they will enter the PPP units. This is because the houses are intended for other social profiles.

According to information from the first PPP Casa da Família announcement, launched in March 2018, there will be 16,284 units destined for Social Interest Housing (HIS). However, these units require proof of a minimum income of a minimum wage for families that are served and will pay proportional installments. The PPP also provides housing for families in the income range of three to six minimum wages (HIS-2), six to ten minimum wages and even 10 to 20 minimum wages, the so-called Popular Market Housing (HMP) and Market Housing Cohab (HMC), which will make up almost 7,000 units.

In the total of the project, the new bet on housing in São Paulo foresees the construction of more than 23 thousand housing units spread over 12 different lots. However, half of these lands are occupied - as is the case with the communities in the stream of Bispo.


The removed from the removed

Ocupação Viva Jardim Julieta, located in Parque Novo Mundo, on the border between São Paulo and Guarulhos, has gained media attention since it was formed five months ago. The reason: it is a direct consequence of the increase in unemployment caused by the pandemic. About 800 families live there, the vast majority evicted for not being able to pay rent at the beginning of the quarantine. Previously, the wasteland that now houses the evictees was used as a parking lot and was baptized by residents as “jungle”, due to the high rate of rapes, prostitution and trafficking.

At the beginning of the occupation, however, residents were told they would have until August 10 to withdraw or be evicted. The land, owned by the public company SP Urbanismo, will be expropriated with another nearby area, the Violão favela, to compose Lot 7 of the PPP Casa da Família. In total, 1,500 residential units will be built. According to Débora Ungaretti, a researcher at LabCidade, SP Urbanismo will take part of the profit from the concessionaire that won the bid in the region, Terra Nova Engenharia e Construções.

Read the full report on the website of Agência Pública.