São Paulo – Interview
Erica, 27, her husband Antonio, 38, and their two children have moved from the Pimentos favela into the new housing subdivision Guarulhos Z. They live on the third floor in Apartmento #43 in Bloco B. The apartment has four rooms, plus a bathroom, kitchen and a small balcony, with a total of 65 square meters. The building in which they live belongs to a gated, closed housing complex with five identical blocks and a total of 195 apartments. TÜV SÜD was responsible for monitoring the facility’s planning and construction.
Erica is happy about her apartment in the new housing development. Fernando Patara supported the move out of the favela.
We had a shack in the middle of the favela. It really wasn’t a good place to raise children. We were surrounded by drugs, crime and violence. There wasn’t any water and no sewers. There was a stream behind our shack, but the water was filthy and poisonous. Our children were growing up in an environment that simply wasn’t right for us.
When the people from the city and from TÜV SÜD came to our favela, they said that a number of shacks would have to be demolished for water pipes, electricity, streets, sewers and a park. Our shack was one of the affected ones, so they offered us an apartment here in Guarulhos Z. We moved two years ago.
Well, everything is different. The building is new, there’s a wall around the property and a steel door. We’re safe. Our neighbors are nice people, not gangsters or drug addicts. A bakery, bus stop and school are around the corner. This is how kids should grow up! They have a future here. And we have hope for a better life.
We pay rent: 177 reals per month (50 euros). In addition we have to pay for water and electricity. But even in the favela we were paying the shack’s owner a modest rent even though we were living in an illegal settlement. It’s much better now: the majority of our rent goes to pay off the apartment. In 25 years it will belong to us! Then we’ll be doing really well.