500,000 people at risk of eviction in Brazil as Supreme Court moratorium nears end

Half a million people in Brazil are at imminent risk of losing their homes within the next two weeks, as a federal moratorium nears its expiration on June 30. In June 2021, Minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) Luís Roberto Barroso issued an injunction against evictions during the pandemic called the Allegation of Non-Compliance or APDF No. 828. This was issued in a case first filed by the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL). The order, which was set to last until December 2021, was extended until March, 2022 and then again till June 30, following sustained pressure and mobilizations by the Zero Evictions Campaign, which also joined the PSOL case.

Launched in 2020, the Campaign is an “urgent call to address a serious problem in Brazil- that to live, work, and feed yourself is a class privilege.” It includes over 175 organizations, and urban and rural people’s movements against evictions and dispossession, including the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST), the Homeless Workers’ Movement (MTST), the Union of Housing Movements (UMM), and the Movement in Neighborhoods, Towns, and Favelas (MLB).

According to data released by the Zero Evictions Campaign this month, over 142,000 families in Brazil are living under threat of eviction. These include 341,000 women, 97,300 children, and 95,100 elderly people. Children and elderly people represent 33% of those who have either already been evicted, or are at immediate risk of removal, in the country..............................

Social and economic disparities in Brazil have been exacerbated first by the pandemic, and then by evictions. The National Movement of Street People has estimated that 500,000 people are already unhoused and forced to live on the streets in Brazil. Research has shown that these populations are often left unaccounted for in public policies, and as such, are unable to access benefits. If evictions are allowed to proceed on July 1, the number of unhoused people in Brazil could soar to one million.

MST has argued that the impact of eviction and landlessness leads to the deprivation of other human rights including access to health, education, and food. A 2021 study by the Gallup Institute found that among 20% of the poorest people, 75% did not have enough money to buy food in the preceding 12 months. A projection by MB Associates cited by the MST also indicated that the inflation rate for food will rise to 12%.

Brazil has witnessed a record rise in food insecurity and poverty during the pandemic. The number of people facing hunger has doubled to 33 million, or 15.5% of households, in 2022. Existing wage levels are insufficient to afford basic necessities and nearly 12 million people are unemployed. Data analyzed by the Getulio Vargas Foundation showed that 23 million Brazilians were living below the poverty line at the end of 2021.

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