News of Minha Casa Minha Vida (My House My Life) was a reassuring find; something to counter the inhumanity of the forced evictions I have been reading and blogging about.
Set up in 2009 by the Federal Government, it is one strand of an ambitious social development programme, in this case to provide housing stock and the opportunity for home ownership for low income families.
Once accepted onto the means tested scheme families can access preferential mortgages and tax exemptions and they need not make any payment until they have moved in.
Building capital is raised in part through private investment; soon I came across an opportunity to invest with ‘Ecohouse Developments’, a UK linked company licensed to carry out building programmes and offering a 20% annual return on a minimum £2300(This is the cost of one house).
The company website has images of its housing development “just” outside the city of Natal in the North East of Brazil.
I was dismayed to see how tightly packed and uniform the houses are and thought what a challenge to make these feel like a home, and could not but wonder how long before estates such as this become a ghetto. I have been trying to work out where the 20% ROI comes from and it must be paid by the family who buy the house.
Am I right in this ?
Next I Learnt that ‘ICI’ a Toronto based company have signed an agreement to supply pre-fabricated housing to meet the needs of communities displaced by the developemtns for the World Cup and Olympic Games.
And now I am not so reassured about the My House My Life programme.