An important step was taken in the struggle of the residents of two urban occupations in Belo Horizonte: Anyky Lima and Casa Verdade. They will be awarded the Housing Grant, rent paid by the Municipality of Belo Horizonte, however, there is no prospect of when they will be covered by a series of bureaucratic issues.
This is just the beginning of a long struggle for housing.
The capital’s executive informed that the Housing Grant will be granted to the 20 residents of the Anyky Lima occupation. The occupation existed for about 7 months in a property belonging to the Localiza company, in the Lourdes neighborhood, in the southern region of Belo Horizonte. The company asked the Court of Justice of Minas Gerais (TJMG) to remove the occupants, effective on August 24th.
To have access to the benefit, however, former occupants must open an account at a bank and settle document issues, which three do not have.
For the Casa Verdade occupation, also located in the Lourdes neighborhood, on Avenida Olegário Maciel, the city hall will provide the same benefit to the 15 occupants. The situation becomes more complex as the eviction of the families is scheduled for September 22 (today). The Public Defender of Minas Gerais tries to postpone the date. Thus, residents would have time to access the assistance.
“Bolsa Habitat should not be the apex of housing policy”, says Eduardo Bittencourt, professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC-Minas). For him, the Stock Exchange is a palliative, being more effective the access to public policies of own housing.
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Regina Paredes, a social worker who monitors the two occupations, argues that families should have access to the Housing Grant as an initial public policy.
“This is just the beginning of a long struggle for housing. Even so, it is a fundamental step. They cannot end up in hostels – where many homeless are referred. There is no place for anyone to stay. There, they have a time to leave and must share the place with many people”, he commented.
Need for Housing Scholarship only increases
The demand for the Housing Grant continues to grow. Information from the PBH Social Assistance department shows that in 2019 12,250 benefits were paid. Its value is R$ 500. Last year it rose to 16,111 recipients. And until September 2021, there are 14,451. For this policy, R$ 21.9 million has been earmarked since 2019.
Source: BoF Minas Gerais
Edition: Rafaella Dotta