Brazil Fights For Homeless Rights

20 million are homeless in the country, most living in poor conditions in huge favelas. A number of groups have begin taking action.

"The members of the [Brazil's Homeless Workers Movement], known as MTST for its initials in Portuguese, protested the threat of dislocation facing 800 families occupying an area of the city Taboão da Serra, in São Paulo, an area that members say had been unoccupied for 25 years. The workers lifted their strike four days later, when the federal government made a promise to include homeless families in a housing program for low-income families.

The MTST, which was founded in the 1990s in the midst of a struggle for decent housing, has not yet achieved the same national and international exposure as the Workers Landless Movement, known as MST for its name in Portuguese. The MST has pushed for land reform for 5 million poor, landless rural families, but figures show that the housing deficit that exists in urban areas is equally alarming.

Brazil's 2000 census showed a deficit of 6.6 million housing units, equaling 20 million homeless people, who live in favelas, shared clandestine rooms, hovels or under bridges and viaducts, or are squatters, in some of the country's largest cities."

Full Story: Fight for decent housing

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