On Friday night (10), about 400 families occupied a 1.8-hectare plot of land on the banks of the Estrada Delegado Bruno de Almeida, in the Campo de Santana neighborhood, in the south of Curitiba. The occupation was organized by the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST). With the thermometer in the 4th place, hundreds of people were rushing to build rudimentary shacks. Three bamboos and a tarp were enough to guarantee a fair share of land in Curitiba’s newest popular occupation. Men, women, the elderly and children were organized under the gaze of hundreds of police officers. The Military Police arrived at the beginning of the occupation, there was no conflict, but dozens of vehicles are still in place and the access roads to the land are blocked.
The occupation is already consolidated and the intention is now to start a negotiation with the city of Curitiba so that the families can settle there, or be relocated. This is what MTST lawyer Marcelle Valentim reveals. “This land has been abandoned for more than 30 years, that is, for decades without any social function. In addition, the zoning of this area, according to the Master Plan of Curitiba, defines it as a Residential Zone of Integrated Occupancy and it needs, for law, be destined for public use, including housing. That’s why we chose this location, now we intend to start negotiations with the municipality, make our defense in the judiciary when there is a request for reintegration of possession and hold demonstrations to reinforce this fight for the right to housing” , reveals the Movement’s lawyer. The land, as Marcelle explains, belongs to Construtora Piemonste, which owns other areas, all in the same situation, with no social function and awaiting real estate speculation.
Most of the families that occupied the place are all from the Curitiba region, mainly from the Tatuquara, Pinheirinho and Cidade Industrial de Curitiba (Cic) neighborhoods. In common among them is the reality of homelessness. Living on rent, in the house of relatives or living on the streets, they all saw their new occupation as a chance to have their own place to live. This is the case of Geovane Reis, a Venezuelan immigrant who hid from the cold with his wife and three children under a fragile black tarp. They have been in Brazil for three years, two of them in Curitiba. Working as a self-employed bricklayer, Geovane earns just over R$1,000 a month and pays R$600 in rent on a house in Boqueirão, a neighborhood in the capital.
Carmem is a Venezuelan immigrant who also participated in the occupation. Without a job, she struggles to pay the rent on the house where she lives with her 19-year-old son, in the Alto Boqueirão neighborhood. “I have lived in Brazil for seven months, I am unemployed and unable to pay rent. I found out about this occupation through a friend”, says the immigrant.
Luciana Aparecida de Souza Rosa, 46, is not an immigrant, but as they face the difficulties of homelessness. The waste picker came from the municipality of Matinhos, on the coast of Paraná, and faced the cold dawn with her daughter and four grandchildren. “I don’t even earn a minimum wage a month, I pay R$ 500 in rent, this occupation is a chance to improve our lives”, highlights Luciana.
Adrian Silva is one of the coordinators of the new occupation. The MTST member explains that the profile of the families who occupied the land in Campo de Santana is the same. “These are people living in extreme poverty, unable to pay rent, water and electricity. This occupation is a complaint to the city hall, the state and the union that people need a home. All over the state there are many houses without people and a lot of homeless people. This land, by law, should be used for the construction of public facilities such as schools, for example, or housing”, he explains.
Paraná has a deficit of more than 500 thousand homes
In 2020, the Paraná Housing Company (Cohapar) released a survey in which it reveals that the state of Paraná has a deficit of 511,746 households. Of the total required, according to the Company, 474,777 are urban households [92,8%]. The numbers are further divided into two categories: quantitative deficit, related to the number of homes that need to be built, taking into account 280,602 registrations, 220 tenements and 41,711 resettlement homes; and the qualitative deficit, of 152,144 households, which concerns the land tenure regularization of invaded areas and irregular subdivisions, as well as the infrastructure of these places, such as sewage, water and electricity networks. In the countryside, the demand for housing is 37,069 units (7.2%).
Request for repossession
On Saturday morning (11), a few hours after the occupation, Judge Juliane Velloso Stankevecz, from the Metropolitan Region of Curitiba – Curitiba Central Forum, accepted the request for repossession of Piemonste Construções e Incorporação LTDA. The judge ruled that, as a use of police force, the families must be evicted from the place within 24 hours.
Photos and interviews by Emerson Nogueira.
Source: BdF Paraná
Editing: Frédi Vasconcelos