The increasing reports of unsatisfactory standards being delivered under the Minha Casa, Minha Vida (“My House, My Life”) program have served as vivid examples of the build-up of practical and execution-related questions oulined in the Brazil without Favelas report, published some months ago by @feztapronto – Ruban Selvanayagam. The news report in the video below – extracted and translated from the “Bom Dia Brasil” programme – shows saw reporters being spoken to in 5 different regions of the country with problematic developments constructed under the initiative. Please also see the further commentary underneath.
The examples referred to above clearly demonstrate not only the visible rise in complaints and dissatisfaction within all stages of the Minha Casa, Minha Vida program´s execution, but also a clear lack of will on the part of the Brazilian government to confront the more profound issues related national housing policy. The Caixa Econômica Federal´s response to the “Morro do Bumba” case, for example, whilst conceding to being responsible for what was deemed an “accidental failure”, arguably was merely an assertion of the technical professionalism of the state organisation. Little response was made in relation to the real implications of the dominating single storey, inferior standard, distantly located housing models that evidently characterise construction models under program.
On this question, Dilma Rousseff, presumably conscious of her impending re-election campaign, was also recently seen affirming the right for the Brazilian public to have good quality: “I was not elected to provide low housing standards to the population. I think that the people deserve the best and my obligation is to ensure this,” she recently commented to journalists. Asserting that the Minha Casa, Minha Vida has been largest program of its kind in the country since the National Housing Bank (Banco Nacional de Habitação, BNH – abolished in 1986), she also admitted that Brazil possesses “some excellent traditions, but others that are not so good, inherited from the days of slavery, where mind sets of Brazilian low income populations deserving whatever standard prevail”.
As seen on cost breakdown example on page 12 of the Brazil without Favelas report (demonstrating the lack of project viability due to excessive input values), even with government donated plots of land, engaging in Minha Casa, Minha Vida projects today has unsurprisingly become viewed with even more scepticism than ever before. A government continually trumpeting quantitatively-based (and arguably dubiously collected) data will not be able to hide the inherent lack of synergy between the private construction sector and the program´s original objectives, commendable as they may be. Indeed, Dilma Rousseff´s, the housing and cities ministries´ political rhetoric looks almost certain to run out of steam in the near future, if it hasn´t already.