We have received some alarming news that the Mauá community in São Paulo, Brazil, is facing the threat of eviction.
Mauá is a community which is occupying an abandoned hotel of the same name. The building has been abandoned for more than 17 years after the owner failed to pay his taxes. Today, the building houses 220 families, in total more than 1000 people. In his visit to Brazil last year, Diocesan Manager Tony Sheen visited Mauá and witnessed a group of brave and inspirational people working to make a safe and habitable home for others. In the brief time he shared in their lives, Tony was able to pass on your messages of support and solidarity. Neti, a mother of two who was homeless before Mauá, noted how that, without your thoughts, prayers, and support, their situation would be much different. In speaking to Neti this week, it is clear to see how important these messages have been to her and to the families in Mauá:
“We are staying up all night for fear of being caught by surprise… In spite of this, on the 25th March we celebrated our 5 year birthday of the occupation. I am grateful for the prayers. It is good to know that we are not alone in this battle…I will be here, and send a big hug to all of you at CAFOD. The struggle continues!”
The judgment calling for the eviction, states that the occupation has only begun this year and is therefore illegal, despite the community having ample evidence to the contrary. While there is not yet a date set for the eviction, it is still quite a surprise to everyone given the successful negotiations undertaken with the local council in terms of recognising the social function of the property.
In response to this situation, CAFOD partner APOIO are organising a Public Hearing with the Public Ministry on the 9th April. The families will then have two weeks to legally appeal the sentence so the full evidence of their situation will be submitted. In the meantime, APOIO is trying to raise awareness about this situation, call an assembly to gather support, and also seek to build political pressure on the authorities in case the judiciary system fails to recognise the situation and upholds the eviction order.
Please keep Neti and all in the Mauá community in your prayers. If you would like to pass along a message of
solidarity, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your parish would like to show your support for those living in Maua, and receive regular updates about CAFOD’s work with the community, you could sign up to Connect 2 Brazil. Visit http://connect2brazil.wordpress.com/ for more information.