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In Pictures: Brazilians 'take back' the city
Facing an endemic housing shortage, low-income families in Sao Paulo are creating their own solutions.
Last updated: 16 Jun 2014 08:08
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Sao Paulo, Brazil - Only the steady flow of men, women and children through a rusted, grey door alert passersby that anyone lives inside the 22-story building. It's covered in graffiti: a small house - bright yellow, with a brown door, window and roof - two women's faces, and the number 911.

With an abundance of unused buildings peppering the city, low-income residents of Sao Paulo occupy vacant structures, often with the help of local social and housing rights movements. This is one of them. "We occupy [buildings] to give a social function to the properties and give houses to people without houses," said Maria Silva, one of the residents.

In other cases, several families occupy large homes, and each family rents out a single room while sharing other facilities, like bathrooms and kitchens. These structures are known as corticos (boarding houses, or tenement buildings).

Unlike the favelas, corticos consist of large, urban apartment-syle buildings shared by several families.

In Sao Paulo, rapid urbanisation was linked to a shift from agriculture to more modern industries, and as labourers moved into makeshift communities to be closer to work. While most favelas are in the peripheries of Sao Paulo, many low-income families also moved into the city centre to be closer to basic services.

Brazil experienced several decades of rapid, countrywide urbanisation. While only 35 percent of Brazilians lived in cities in the 1950s, that number has grown to 85 percent today.

"With the logic of building in the periphery for social housing, you have no infrastructure, you have no hospitals, you have no schools and you have no transportation. This generated a very big problem of social segregation. In the last two decades, there has been a very strong housing movement to talk about the right to live in the centre of the cities," said Luiz Kohara, executive secretary of the Gaspar Garcia Centre, a local group that supports the right to housing.

In 2008, Brazil lacked 5.45 million dwellings to meet its citizens' housing needs, a shortage that primarily affected the urban poor. At least seven million housing units sit vacant in the entirety of Brazil, 70 percent of which are in urban areas.

"Of the total seven million units, 6.3 million would be in condition to be occupied, and accommodate 19 million [people]. Yet, this issue has not been adequately taken into consideration in the scope of recent housing policies," UN-HABITAT found.

Brazil's former President Luiz Ignacio "Lula" Da Silva instituted the "My House, My Life" (Minha Casa Minha Vida) programme in 2009. In partnership with the private sector, Da Silva invested $18.4bn to build one million low-income housing units by the end of 2011.

The programme has continued under Lula's successor, Dilma Rousseff, and a goal was set to build another two million units from 2012-2014 with an investment of $67.2bn.

But housing rights advocates say that doesn't address the real issue. "The problem in Brazil is not a lack of housing, it's the bad distribution of housing," said Gaspar Garcia's Kohara. "This is a reflection of the social inequality in Brazil."


/Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera
The UN estimates that at least 1.33 million housing units sit empty in Sao Paulo.


/Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera

Informal housing in the city centre attracts many low-income families because it allows them to live near their jobs and schools. Access to public transportation is also better than most other cheap housing options.



/Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera

Eleven families share this corticos. After coming to an agreement with the building's owner, each family pays approximately 350 Brazilian Reais ($156) per month for rent, which includes water and electricity.



/Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera

Marcio Alves de Lima, 29, lives here in a single room with his wife, and three children, aged 10, nine and nine months. "I like living here because everything is close by. My dream is to have my own house, but I can't afford it," he said.



/Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera

The UN estimates that sub-standard sanitation affects 45 percent of Brazil's 57 million households. Another resident of the corticos, Clarina Maria Fonseca and her three sons share two bathrooms with seven other families.



/Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera
"You pay rent that you more or less can afford, but it's difficult," said Fonseca, about living in the corticos. "It's always very far from what you dreamed of as a proper place to live."


/Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera
These two formerly unused buildings - one has 22 floors, the other nine - were occupied four years ago by working-poor families in the centre of Sao Paulo. Approximately 400 families now live in them.


/Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera
"Families live well here because most of us didn't have anything before this - some families lived in the streets. Here, we have a safe place and can organise our lives," said Maria Silva, who has lived here since the building was first occupied.


/Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera
The occupation was orchestrated by the Movimento Sem Teto Centro (MSTC, or the Roofless Movement of the Centre). Security cameras are placed in the lobby, and the stairwells and common rooms on each floor.


/Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera
Once they are given a room, residents can build anything inside. Here, a family runs a small convenience shop. "Many people see roofless people as invaders and people that make a mess," Silva said. "But it's a necessity. People need a place to live."



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images:
/mritems/images/2014/6/15/201461575351529695_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/6/15/201461575351802695_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/6/15/20146157535223470_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/6/15/201461575352224536_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/6/15/201461575352404658_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/6/15/201461575353270526_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/6/15/201461575353445275_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/6/15/201461575353666173_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/6/15/201461575353854718_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/6/15/20146157535449381_8.jpg
captions:
The UN estimates that at least 1.33 million housing units sit empty in Sao Paulo.;*;

Informal housing in the city centre attracts many low-income families because it allows them to live near their jobs and schools. Access to public transportation is also better than most other cheap housing options.

;*;

Eleven families share this corticos. After coming to an agreement with the building(***)s owner, each family pays approximately 350 Brazilian Reais ($156) per month for rent, which includes water and electricity.

;*;

Marcio Alves de Lima, 29, lives here in a single room with his wife, and three children, aged 10, nine and nine months. "I like living here because everything is close by. My dream is to have my own house, but I can(***)t afford it," he said.

;*;

The UN estimates that sub-standard sanitation affects 45 percent of Brazil(***)s 57 million households. Another resident of the corticos, Clarina Maria Fonseca and her three sons share two bathrooms with seven other families.

;*;"You pay rent that you more or less can afford, but it\(***)s difficult," said Fonseca, about living in the corticos. "It\(***)s always very far from what you dreamed of as a proper place to live.";*;These two formerly unused buildings - one has 22 floors, the other nine - were occupied four years ago by working-poor families in the centre of Sao Paulo. Approximately 400 families now live in them.;*;"Families live well here because most of us didn\(***)t have anything before this - some families lived in the streets. Here, we have a safe place and can organise our lives," said Maria Silva, who has lived here since the building was first occupied.;*;The occupation was orchestrated by the Movimento Sem Teto Centro (MSTC, or the Roofless Movement of the Centre). Security cameras are placed in the lobby, and the stairwells and common rooms on each floor.;*;Once they are given a room, residents can build anything inside. Here, a family runs a small convenience shop. "Many people see roofless people as invaders and people that make a mess," Silva said. "But it\(***)s a necessity. People need a place to live." Daylife ID:
ae566271794c2637dd5bb0def9a30b47
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera;*;Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera;*;Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera;*;Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera;*;Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera;*;Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera;*;Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera;*;Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera;*;Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera;*;Jillian Kestler-D\'Amours/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Brazil's alternative housinghttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housingen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Sun, 15 Jun 2014 07:48:05 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/d1ee09bac4deb27243faf6533746e913

The UN estimates that at least 1.33 million housing units sit empty in Sao Paulo.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/d1ee09bac4deb27243faf6533746e913Jillian Kestler-D'Amours/Al Jazeera

The UN estimates that at least 1.33 million housing units sit empty in Sao Paulo.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/5d7db768ade860e381c6d90b40005467

Informal housing in the city centre attracts many low-income families because it allows them to live near their jobs and schools Access to public transportation is also better than most other cheap housing options.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/5d7db768ade860e381c6d90b40005467Jillian Kestler-D'Amours/Al Jazeera

Informal housing in the city centre attracts many low-income families because it allows them to live near their jobs and schools Access to public transportation is also better than most other cheap housing options.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/9e734bfd9847c65a99664db1d5dc1af7

Eleven families share this corticos, [what is a corticos?]. After coming to an agreement with the building's owner, each family pays approximately 350 Brazilian Reais ($156) per month for rent, including water and electricity.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/9e734bfd9847c65a99664db1d5dc1af7Jillian Kestler-D'Amours/Al Jazeera

Eleven families share this corticos, [what is a corticos?]. After coming to an agreement with the building's owner, each family pays approximately 350 Brazilian Reais ($156) per month for rent, including water and electricity.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/040fd75ad251472a347e7622f0bfa381

Marcio Alves de Lima, 29, lives here in a single room with his wife, and three children, aged 10, nine and nine months. "I like living here because everything is close by. My dream is to have my own house, but I can't afford it," he said.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/040fd75ad251472a347e7622f0bfa381Jillian Kestler-D'Amours/Al Jazeera

Marcio Alves de Lima, 29, lives here in a single room with his wife, and three children, aged 10, nine and nine months. "I like living here because everything is close by. My dream is to have my own house, but I can't afford it," he said.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/80d43be0c8d3d5ea87878819ccf54b79

The UN estimates that sub-standard sanitation affects 45 percent of Brazil's 57 million households. Another resident of the corticos, Clarina Maria Fonseca and her three sons share two bathrooms with seven other families.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/80d43be0c8d3d5ea87878819ccf54b79Jillian Kestler-D'Amours/Al Jazeera

The UN estimates that sub-standard sanitation affects 45 percent of Brazil's 57 million households. Another resident of the corticos, Clarina Maria Fonseca and her three sons share two bathrooms with seven other families.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/3780887c20a33fe05d6185676207f0ea

"You pay rent that you more or less can afford, but it's difficult," said Fonseca, about living in the corticos. "It's always very far from what you dreamed of as a proper place to live."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/3780887c20a33fe05d6185676207f0eaJillian Kestler-D'Amours/Al Jazeera

"You pay rent that you more or less can afford, but it's difficult," said Fonseca, about living in the corticos. "It's always very far from what you dreamed of as a proper place to live."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/a7ac85267c8aa4a75c1a0252643efbac

These two formerly unused buildings - one has 22 floors, the other nine - were occupied four years ago by working-poor families in the centre of Sao Paulo. Approximately 400 families now live in them.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/a7ac85267c8aa4a75c1a0252643efbacJillian Kestler-D'Amours/Al Jazeera

These two formerly unused buildings - one has 22 floors, the other nine - were occupied four years ago by working-poor families in the centre of Sao Paulo. Approximately 400 families now live in them.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/6751298ad5fef10aa856d06b20a94b0d

"Families live well here because most of us didn't have anything before this - some families lived in the streets. Here, we have a safe place and can organise our lives," said Maria Silva, who has lived here since the building was first occupied.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/6751298ad5fef10aa856d06b20a94b0dJillian Kestler-D'Amours/Al Jazeera

"Families live well here because most of us didn't have anything before this - some families lived in the streets. Here, we have a safe place and can organise our lives," said Maria Silva, who has lived here since the building was first occupied.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/d4f3ee5454c52acd288b02b6f5df05c0

The occupation was orchestrated by the Movimento Sem Teto Centro (MSTC, or the Roofless Movement of the Centre). Security cameras are placed in the lobby, and the stairwells and common rooms on each floor.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/d4f3ee5454c52acd288b02b6f5df05c0Jillian Kestler-D'Amours/Al Jazeera

The occupation was orchestrated by the Movimento Sem Teto Centro (MSTC, or the Roofless Movement of the Centre). Security cameras are placed in the lobby, and the stairwells and common rooms on each floor.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/7d6b56aaaa60429a921599ec7b9844c0

Once they are given a room, residents can build anything inside. Here, a family runs a small convenience shop. "Many people see roofless people as invaders and people that make a mess," Silva said. "But it's a necessity. People need a place to live."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Brazil%27s_alternative_housing/slideshow/no-caption/7d6b56aaaa60429a921599ec7b9844c0Jillian Kestler-D'Amours/Al Jazeera

Once they are given a room, residents can build anything inside. Here, a family runs a small convenience shop. "Many people see roofless people as invaders and people that make a mess," Silva said. "But it's a necessity. People need a place to live."



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