A year later, Casa Verde e Amarela does not take off and delivers fewer houses

A year after its launch, the Casa Verde e Amarela program has yet to take off. Although the reduction in the interest rate has contributed to boosting financing, especially in the Northeast region, other fronts of the Bolsonaro government’s housing policy are hampered by the lack of resources in the Budget.

The delivery of new homes is below the average of recent years, and so far no housing has been regularized or targeted for renovations. The financial insecurity surrounding the program arouses criticism at a time when families lose income and suffer from evictions in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic.

In 2021, the federal government completed around 20,000 housing units in the former Minha Casa, Minha Vida tier 1 (for families with monthly income of up to R$2,000), a number below the average of recent years: from 2009 to September By 2020, 1.49 million homes were delivered, according to a report by the Federal Comptroller General (CGU).

The continuity of the other works, however, is threatened by the lack of resources, and there is a risk of stoppage in early September, as shown by the Estadão/Broadcast. New hires are an even more distant plan.

The government has said that the delivery of new houses will no longer be the only aspect of the housing policy, but news such as the regularization of land or housing renovations have not yet left the paper.

The national secretary for Housing at the Ministry of Regional Development, Alfredo Santos, says that the ministry did not stand still and, in this last year, worked on the bases of the first public notice, which will be released in September.

Up to 107 thousand housing regularizations will be contracted, in addition to improvements in 20% of them, with around R$ 300 million made available immediately by the Social Development Fund (FDS) – supplied with money from companies. These are private resources, that is, there is not a penny in the budget for this branch of Casa Verde e Amarela.

While the housing policy is strangled by the lack of money, Gilma Sousa Lima, 44, looks to the age of her daughter, now 20, as a reference to calculate how long she has been waiting for her own home.

The search began when her daughter was just three years old, and Gilma was a single mother. After 17 years, she had to make the school where she works as a janitor, in the south of São Paulo, her own home. There, she lives with her husband and daughter. Queuing for a house, she has little hope but says she won’t give up.

“I’m the school’s janitor. I open and close, so we don’t pay the rent. (We live) in the school’s janitor. My dream was for my daughter to have a room for her, and so far I haven’t even managed to get a house,” she says.

The bridge between Gilma and the wait for a popular house is made by the Movement for the Right to Housing (MDM) of São Paulo, which has an agreement with the Metropolitan Housing Company (Cohab). With the stoppage of new hires for the lower-income bracket, however, there were no more conditions for the projects to be continued.

“The biggest difficulty is when the government changes. When it changes, it paralyzes”, says Gilma. She, who receives a minimum wage, and her husband, who works as a motorcycle courier, cannot access Casa Verde e Amarela. “If it’s not through some movement, with my salary, I’ll never get (a loan).”

Budget

Secretary Alfredo Santos recognizes that the future of regularizations, renovations and construction of houses depends on money in the budget. For 2022, the MDR asked for R$ 800 million for the regularization and improvement policy, which, together with another portion of FDS resources, would include up to 280 thousand homes.

Without public money, the capacity drops to 60,000 homes. “We are insistently asking that we be attended to, but, yes, we still depend on the Budget.”

The budget proposal for 2022 will be presented tomorrow and the initial distribution of resources is made according to a government decision, usually centralized in the Budget Execution Board, formed by the Civil House and the Ministry of Economy.

The president of the Brazilian Chamber of Construction Industry (CBIC), José Carlos Martins, criticizes the government’s stance in relation to the housing program. “It’s the lack of political will to put money into this issue. It is a contracted work, in progress, and you have to pass the saucer as if it were a favor”, he says. He recalls that the government’s housing policy plays an important social role, especially in a scenario of increased vulnerabilities due to the pandemic. “The bureaucrat doesn’t understand this side, that it’s not just a checkbook, just money. That has a social slant, bigger than the mere fact of the money being put there.”

Since Casa Verde e Amarela was launched, movements linked to the right to housing agenda have criticized the program for the lack of resources to hire new homes for the low-income public, who earn up to R$2,000 a month.

The president of the National Confederation of Residents’ Associations (Conam), Getúlio Vargas Jr, recalls that the housing deficit (the number of decent homes in shortage) is almost 6 million units in Brazil, a situation that tends to worsen with the pandemic .

Six questions for Alfredo Santos, National Secretary for Housing:

1. What a balance mr. is the first year of the Casa Verde e Amarela program amidst the difficulties caused by the budget restriction?

The data are quite positive, considering that the MP (provisional measure that created the Casa Verde e Amarela) was in August 2020, and became law in January of this year. During this period, advances took place. The first is precisely financed housing production. One of our proposals was to expand the program’s participation in the North and Northeast regions. We made operational changes, the most relevant of which was the reduction in interest rates, especially in the North and Northeast. Comparing the first half of 2021 with that of 2020, there was a 12% increase in hiring. In the Northeast, this number exceeds 20%. This is a reflection of politics.

2. And how to proceed?

During the last six months, together with the Ministry of Economy, we have been preparing a proposal to change the subsidy curve, which complement the worker’s ability to pay. We realized that the program was doing very well for sales (to earning families) above R$ 2 thousand, and the performance was not so good below that. The proposal to the Board of Trustees (FGTS) changes this curve, improving the purchasing power of families. At the same time, considering the increase in costs that occurred in civil construction in general, we are proposing to update values ​​in order to maintain the attractiveness of the market. This closes the cycle of improvements in the (housing) part financed.

3. Considering everything that is stopped or in progress, how many homes are still in stock?

Around 280 thousand units.

4. Is it possible to resume everything that is feasible in 2022 yet?

We are working on it.

5. What about new hires, only when the stock runs out?

I would not say zero the stock, but at least retake all those that can be repossessed. This gives a horizon of how much I need to budget. As it is delivered, if there is space, we can hire it again.

6. Is it possible to expect a new hire in 2022 or is it still early?

It will depend on the budget condition. Housing production is always very important, it is a priority policy, but first the responsibility. This is the demand of the president (Jair Bolsonaro), of the stalled works, has to be completed first.

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