Our final stop is a visit to APOIO’S shelters for homeless people. This is a great achievement of CAFOD’s partner.
APOIO provides shelter to 3,000 homeless people per night, in 39 shelters across the city. These shelters employ between 500 and 600 people who themselves are mainly from the housing movement and living in occupations including Maua. The fact that the staff have themselves experienced homelessness means they are sensitive to the situation of people living on the streets and treat them better. The shelters are funded by the São Paulo city government, which subcontracts the work to APOIO.
We visit the shelter called Boracea: this shelter is financed partly by the City government and partly by APOIO. The government contributes 3 million reais (£1.18 million) and APOIO provides 2 million reais (£790,000) in the form of food which it obtains from churches and other supporting organisations. APOIO took on the shelter in 2007, when it was in danger of being closed down. The shelter has a capacity for 1,160 people per night. It is divided in to several smaller units, plus a day-centre where people can take a shower, play table tennis, read and play cards. There are also a health clinic, chapel, industrial laundries, nursing home, industrial kitchen, dining areas and sleeping areas. There are separate sleeping areas for people with mental health problems, for people with physical disabilities and for men and women.
Andre, 30 years old, laundry assistant, used to live in an occupation, was evicted and is now receiving housing benefit from the City government as a result of APOIO’s intervention. He earns 709 reais per month (£280) for his work at Boracea.