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What Do Rio’s Mayoral Candidates Say About Social Housing?

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As Rio’s mayoral candidates enter their final week of campaigning ahead of the 2016 election on October 2, we take a look here at the proposals for social housing. Of the 11 candidates running for mayor of Rio de Janeiro, only six talk about social housing in their manifestos: Pedro Paulo Carvalho Teixeira (PMDB); Marcelo Freixo (PSOL); Cyro Garcia (PSTU); Jandira Feghali (PCdoB); Índio da Costa (PSD); and Carlos Osório (PSDB).

Pedro Paulo’s housing centerpieces include using empty or underutilized properties in central areas as housing units; creating 27,600 new social housing units; rejuvenating the seven-year-old Bairro Maravilha (Wonderful Neighborhood) program aimed at maintaining and upgrading infrastructure in the North and West Zones; and resuming Morar Carioca, which Paulo claims has already been implemented in more than half of the city’s favelas. In addition to resurrecting abandoned, election-trophy policies, Paulo proposes a new initiative called Rio Carioca Local e Produção Habitacional (Rio Carioca Local and Housing Production), where new social housing units will be procured to “allow resettlement and acquisition of housing for low-income families”–which sounds like an initiative that would allow the policy of forced removals to continue.

Mayoral candidates 2016 from left to right: Cyro Garcia; Marcelo Freixo; Jandira Feghali; Marcelo Crivella.

Paulo, Freixo and Garcia all want to use empty or underutilized properties for social housing. Freixo hopes to upgrade existing social housing and implement new but unspecified social housing programs, and also proposes redirecting public housing programs to areas which already have consolidated infrastructure.

Feghali and da Costa want to see further stability for the Minha Casa Minha Vida public housing program, although da Costa wants to do this through Public-Private Partnerships while Feghali focuses on expanding it to further support the city’s youth and the program’s female beneficiaries. Da Costa’s remaining social housing point is to resettle families living in risk areas. Feghali’s other proposals include using state funding to help young people find housing, maintaining the Housing Improvement Program (HIS) and using local participation to reassess the city’s Master Plan, the Municipal Plan for Social Housing and the Port Social Housing Plan (PHIS).

Osório’s social housing proposals lack detail, suggesting only to encourage existing housing programs and find areas of municipal land available for use for unspecified housing projects. Marcelo Crivella (PRB, and currently ahead in the polls), Alessandro Molon (REDE), Carmen Migueles (NOVO), Thelma Bastos (PCO) and Flávio Bolsonaro (PSC) do not mention social housing in their manifestos.

Mayoral candidates 2016 from left to right: Indio da Costa; Thelma Bastos; Flávio Bolsonaro.