Poor housing and health: a challenge in Brazilian´s big cities

Today Brazil is the 8th world economy and could become the 5th in the next decade. Nevertheless, the poor housing that endanger the health of Brazilians are the great challenge in country´s big cities. Born in the interior of Ceará State Northeast of Brazil, Claudia came to Sao Paulo in the 80´s to make a living" as a maid and escape from the drought. From Northeast she brought two sons Daniel (25) and Denis (23). In Sao Paulo she had four more children - Robert (17), Rafael (13) Michael Douglas (9) and Bruno - who would be 11 years-old if he did not had died by leptospirosis. Roberta had twins last year - Wellington and Ronaldo. The house where they live have no internal or external plaster (which causes moisture) and have no windows (which affect ventilation and lighting). Eight people (including Claudia, her five sons and her two grandchildren) share quarters of one room, bathroom and tiny kitchen. Whenever it rains, the water floods the house and exposes them to disease vectors such as rats and insects. The twins Wellington and Ronaldo already suffer from asthma because of their living conditions. Unfortunately, the perverse effects of Claudia s substandard living conditions are experienced by millions of families living in large cities. In homes with poor ventilation, respiratory disease (bronchitis, asthma), diarrhea or environment-related diseases (malaria, leptospirosis) are constant health issues. According to the Ministry of Health, infectious diseases and respiratory infections are the 2nd. and 3rd. most common causes of infant mortality.

The slums in Brazil are the result of poor distribution of income and the housing deficit in the country. health. In the Habitat s experience. With the raise. According to IBGE (population statistics institute). According to a survey of Latin Panel IBOPE. one in every three Brazilians in the lower classes want to invest in reform and construction. the average cost of retirement is 10 to 20% of the cost of a new home. education and the job site. Brazil has 55 million inhabitants (25% of its population) living in slums by 2020. this year. The high cost of land values in major cities and the fact that slums have already access to public transport. the rate of the population living in slums in Brazil grew three times more than the overall population growth for the country. which means that investment in building a new home for one family may represent the retirement of up to 10 families. "says Claudia. The effects of this exclusion may prevent Brazil to become one of major economies in the future. providing better housing for those already living there. the UN warned that if steps are not taken. the family began making plans to improve their living quarters. These reforms made informally and without technical support are often wasteful and impractical and for the most part leave unhappy families. "Any extra money will make a difference for us. . A better quality of housing is the Brazilian dream Bulding new neighborhoods to replace the slums would not solve the problem. reinforces the importance of investing in improving conditions of existing housing in major cities. had an income increase from U$519 to U$600.3 million homes. This represents ¼ of the population living in poor health and having their education compromised. are less prone to study and become more vulnerable to crime and drugs. To illustrate this reality. Research shows that lack of good housing conditions have an impact on people's intelligence because of the occurrence of recurrent parasitic infections in childhood. In a recent study.Children with health problems certainly miss more school. home improvements and repair cost between 1/10 to ½ of a new dwelling. we will go back to Claudia. Denis. Additionally. It is necessary to incorporate the slums into the cities. What I most wanted was to reshape my house. The solution to this problem is complex and demands emergency action from governments. According to the Ministry of Cities this housing deficit is estimated in about 6. civil society and business. one of her sons.

Habitat for Humanity Brazil operates only in areas settled or in process of regularization. This micro-credit allows families to buy construction materials and hire contractors.000. and cannot meet the minimum requirements of SFH (Housing Financing System) for lack of a formal income. Pernambuco.200) . Healthy Families . and always in partnership with local government. We believe this insures a continuous cycle of transformation around communities. The difference is that Habitat for Humanity offers: Constructive Service. already changed the lives of over 6. The payments from the microcredit go back to Habitat s Revolving Fund. it can mean wasted resources.000 families served with housing improvements in Bahia. 13% contraction of diarrhea and 20% had anemia. house improvements can radically change the health of her family and ultimately foster a virtuous cycle of development. has developed projects in 10 states. Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo State. Legal Counsel. Social Service. which generates more microcredit to other families and projects around the country. The target audience are families who earn up to 5 minimum-wage salary (approximately U$1. Each reform costs about U$ 3. Habitat for Humanity comes in to ensure that families like Claudia s have proper technical assistance for their home project and that their limited resources are put to the best use possible Healthy Homes. so families can learn to organize their finances. unstable dwellings and lost money. Financial Education. related to land tenure.Certainly. However. Habitat gives families access to a microcredit that enables improvements in their homes. . if conducted improperly. pay their debts and plan financially for other conquests. Research conducted by University of California in Latin America showed that the mere placing of a concrete floor in a house decreases by 20% the risk of parasitic infections.00 per family. Reforms are not donations or give aways.Microcredit for Reforms Habitat for Humanity in Brazil since 1992.000 families and by 2015 aims to have another 6.

such as housing movements).In the end. lighting. which in turn leads to a better economic situation and more consumption. streets. In the end. As the primary focus of the government is constructing new homes or redevelopment (sewer. relocation of houses to accommodate environmental issues). Habitat for Humanity always works in partnership with different sectors of society (individuals. Acting on a key issue for the economic development of Brazil. government . Engage and involve your network of relationships (for example. Companies contribute to the growing of the economy considering that a population with better living conditions is more willing to work and develop its job skills. Communities became more empowered and developed. companies. y y . Governments can enhance its programs and develop further their housing policies. The country by ensuring a better standard of living for all its citizens What companies can gain by supporting Habitat for Humanity? Sponsoring the housing improvement program in different communities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo Cities (main cities for World Cup 2014) companies can: y Get spontaneous publicity in national and international media by becoming a leader in social responsibility and volunteer participation in their host country. employees of your company and / or their families) in voluntary actions to reform / improvement of houses in communities.at all three levels and social movement organizations . the result is the INTEGRAL DEVELOPMENT: FAMILY. The environment by reducing waste and environmental risks. everyone wins: Families benefits from better living quarters. Habitat enters as partner in custom solutions for individual housing improvements. COMMUNITY AND THE COUNTRY bringing solutions that generate long-term impact.

beginning on house at a time.This way. . by engaging all sectors and coordinating resources. Habitat for Humanity can help countless families like Claudia to transform Brazil.

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