On Monday, following a court order, 240 police went to evict 800 families from the Olga Benário squatter settlement in an area called Capão Redondo, sprawling southern São Paulo. The property had been occupied for two years by hundreds of families, many from the social movement Frente de Luta por Moradia (the Front of Struggle for Housing). The property’s owner, a transport company, was able to get an eviction order from a judge, even though it owes back taxes, and even as the State Public Defender’s office was attempting to protect the residents. The eviction ended with burned houses and cars, and hundreds of families on the street in the mud.
Having just come out of a personal housing crisis myself here in NYC where the cost of living continues to rise and gentrification is swooping into neighborhoods of color making it hard for old timers to stay, and for new immigrants to find homes, I have to wonder why isn’t housing a right, especially for families with children?