The fight by 237 São Paulo families to secure permanent housing has ended in victory after the municipal government signed over more than £3 million to purchase the Mauá building which has been their home for the last seven years.
The Mauá community was due to be evicted on the eve of the World Cup, unless the city authorities pushed through a purchase order to convert the abandoned hotel into social housing. News of the victory was greeted with jubilation by the families, and they were quick to thank the thousands of CAFOD supporters in England and Wales who backed their campaign.
For seven years, they have lived in the Mauá building, and dreamed that one day they could call it home. Not somewhere to stay until they are moved on. Not somewhere to occupy until they are evicted. But home. It may not look much – but it’s home.
Community leader, Nete Araujo, said:
“I did not believe the news until we received the electronic confirmation of the deposit. We organised a community assembly to inform the families. I was on my knees. I would like to thank, after God, all of you who helped and supported us in CAFOD, and who were alongside us during this struggle – and now also beside us during this great hour of victory. It is your victory too! And I hope you know too that the commitment and responsibilities do not end here with this gain. We want to see each of the families with a key to their homes in their hands.
“It is important that the support and solidarity of all of you continues. That you continue to help us as you have. Sometimes I have felt quite desperate, and then I stop and think I am not alone, and that is good. I want to thank all of you for this victory, for being together with us, for that connection with us, for this link and rope to transform itself into a big knot that never unties and continues for great victories.”
But the fight goes on as we campaign for safe, secure and sustainable housing for thousands of other people. Please remember them when the fans and reporters have left Brazil after the World Cup. Please add your name in support of their campaign.