CAFOD’s Connect2 project in Brazil focuses on the communities in Sao Paulo, Brazil. One of these is the Maua community which resides in the Maua building in the centre of Sao Paulo. The building was originally a hotel, but was left empty for 17 years until over 200 homeless families renovated it and moved in in 2007. Since then, they have been desperately trying to win their legal rights to live there and have recently been engaging in negotiations with the authorities. The situation has now become urgent as a shock eviction notice has been given to the community, meaning that over 200 families now face being forced out of their homes by police on 22nd October 2017.
CAFOD’s partner in Brazil APOIO is currently working with the Maua community to try and defend their right to secure housing, however there is no further legal option to save the community. This means that the only option left to them is for the international Catholic community to put pressure on the authorities to stop the eviction.
Neti de Araujo, a community leader within the Maua community who has met with CAFOD supporters in the past has said: “We in the Maua community have spent 10 years living in this building which we have cleaned, looked after and made into a home for 237 families. For years we have been negotiating for the acquisition of this building for social housing with an affordable rent. Now we are at risk of an eviction. We have not been offered an alternative. We will have to leave our homes and live in the street. I am counting on you and your prayers”
Members of the Brazilian Connect2 community visited the Liverpool Volunteer centre several years ago, so this decision is especially difficult for us to hear about in the office. Staff and volunteers in Liverpool have been showing their solidarity with the Maua community.
Ged said “We have been involved with the Maua community for over 10 years and members of the community have visited Liverpool and we are stunned to see that the local authorities are trying to evict people who have improved their accommodation and need it so badly, particularly when it is such a fantastic community. We urge them to reconsider this decision.”
Can you sign the petition asking the Brazilian authorities to suspend the eviction and to negotiate a just, permanent solution for the families? Can you print off the petition and ask people in your parish or community to add their signatures? Will you show solidarity with the Maua community by taking a picture of yourself holding a sign saying #ficamaua to share with us on social media?