Connect2: Urgent News from Mauá

We have some urgent news from the Mauá community in São Paulo, Brazil. As you may remember, Mauá is a community of over 200 families who several years ago were facing eviction from their home–a previously abandoned hotel building.

Nete, Maua´s community leader (centre), with children, holding petitions signed by parishioners from England and Wales, campaigning against an earlier eviction threat.

Nete, Maua´s community leader (centre), with children, holding petitions signed by parishioners from England and Wales, campaigning against an earlier eviction threat.

At Christmas, we heard that the São Paulo city government had passed a decree to buy the building and turn it into social housing. This was a moment for celebration. But suddenly, the situation has taken a turn for the worse and now is a make-or-break time for the 237 homeless families who have fought for 7 years to make Mauá their permanent home. Tuesday 15 April is the key date. We ask you to pray for the families as their long struggle reaches its final conclusion.

The story is this:
The city government has pledged to buy the building and turn it into permanent housing for the families. But a local judge has re-issued an eviction order, this time based on a health and safety report by the fire brigade who considered the building unsafe. The date for the eviction is 15 April. Potentially, all 237 families – including the elderly, sick and children – could be forced out on to the streets. The city government needs to push through the compulsory purchase before 15 April in order to halt the eviction. The community are working hard with the city government to achieve this. Here is a message to us from Nete, Mauá´s coordinator and from Osmar, an ally within the city government.

Nete says:
“We are working to remedy the problems identified by the Fire Brigade – buying fire extinguishers, re-wiring and making other repairs. The City Council has yet to make the expropriation payment. They proposed doing this on the 15 April, the day that is marked for eviction. But as a community, we protested and now they have said they will do it in 2 weeks. We hope to celebrate soon! “

Osmar Borges, of CAFOD partner APOIO says:
“We are working hard and campaigning to ensure that the city government fulfils its promise of expropriating and purchasing the Mauá building by the next weeks. This will suspend the 15 April eviction order and finally guarantee that the building will be refurbished and converted into social housing. This moment is a unique opportunity.

God willing, Mauá will be converted into a beautiful place where low income families can live permanently. We believe this change is possible. We believe that with the ongoing work we are doing here, and your partnership and support via communities, we will ensure this victory and fulfil the dream of hundreds of families.

We would like to thank you for your support which is helping to improve the lives of families and fulfil their dreams of having a decent home and roof over their heads. Together we are creating a better world for those who have struggled and are suffering.”

Please keep the Mauá community in your prayers.

You can learn more about the Mauá community and CAFOD’s work in Brazil on the CAFOD Blog, and stand alongside Brazilians in their fight for decent housing by adding your name to CAFOD’s open letter to Brazilian leaders

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