José Pereira Filho

"I believed in City Hall’s word and I was forgotten"

Coming from
rua ventura, 163, vila união de curicica rua ventura, 163, vila união de curicica

Now living in
rua adauto botelho, colônia rua adauto botelho, colônia

My house was going to be an exchange of keys: I would get the apartment, equivalent to the value of my two-storey house. They were going to arrange a piece of land for me, a group of BRT [bus rapid transit] lands – some would be left over after – and they were going to put me there so I had a place to support my family. Because I’ve got diabetes, I’ve got blood problems, I can’t work in paid employment, because I’m having treatment… what I mean is, for a year now I’ve been paying for everything, but it’s my son who has to work.

[What did you work as?] I’m a car mechanic.

[Did you have a shop there?] Yes, I worked at the door of  my house.

My tools… everything was thrown out, the majority were stolen. They are there in my neighbour’s house, I lost a lot of tools. If you look here, look how few tools there are, can you see? The car is full of tools, because there is nowhere to put them in an apartment. A 15 tonne vice, a six-tonne hoist to lift up cars… how am I going to put these in an apartment?

My name is Jose Pereira da Silva Filho, I’m 52, I’m unemployed at the moment, City Hall doesn’t answer my calls anymore. Valdir Pecanha is the main person who promised me… he made an exception of my workplace, where I survived and supported my family. Nowadays, he doesn’t answer me anymore. I’ve been more than 20 times to the deputy mayor’s office. What I mean is, I’ve been forgotten about because they only have my documents, they didn’t give me any paperwork at all. I believed in City Hall’s word.

I arrived here on February 8 last year. And the worst of all: you aren’t secure in your property. Because I signed a document without reading it – they make everyone do that – promising an apartment and now Banco do Brasil is charging me for the apartment? Something has gone wrong.

City Hall has never given me the provisional certificate, because they don’t even have it. They just grab us and take us out of there, the maximum concern was to get the BRT built. The BRT has been built, and now they don’t care about the residents, they don’t care about people.

I entered the justice system to get them to take my name out of bad credit lists. They just told me about this time-consuming process, that we can’t buy anything at the moment. Something else too: they promised me all my white goods here, but they threw everything out – you can see we haven’t got a fridge and we only have an old cooker. I used to have three fridges, and now I’ve only got one freezer. My white goods still haven’t been returned, and it’s my 21-year-old son who sustains this house.

Look, there are rumours around the whole time. I lived there for 23 years. But when the BRT came, it was like lightning. I was one of the first to go. My address was Rua Ventura number 3, exactly where the BRT bends. The houses alongside me didn’t go, it was just mine.

You had to go politely or under duress. They invited you politely with a truncheon and armed men at your door. Me, a sick man, am I going to take a beating in front of my wife and son and see loads of municipal guards, as happened to a lot of people here?

Look, I’m going to tell you something. I am 52, I’d like to put the past in the past. It’s not so important what I felt about the house, what matters is how I feel right now. I’m feeling injured, fooled, I’ve got a dirty name, no work… so you can get an idea of how I am feeling right now.

When it comes to the house, I only accepted this because I was afraid of my family ending up on the streets. So what was I worried about? I even spoke to them about this. There was a moment we weren’t going to leave, and I said no, firstly I’m going to find a home for my family, then later I’ll go after the rest. Because my main worry.. you know that to get a lawyer for nothing is an unequal struggle. City Hall has 50 free lawyers. I am not going to sue because it is an illusion. It’s going to take 20 years and I’ll be dead, I don’t even think I’ll still be alive. I don’t have time to wait because the justice system is very weak. The municipal, state and federal justice systems are all weak.

Look, doctors have slept in the streets before. I’ve never been robbed, nothing has ever happened, my son studies at night. I have nothing to complain about there, in fact the opposite. I miss it. If I had the opportunity to go back to a place with a room and a kitchen, I would. It’s my dream to go back there.

The first thing is that until I was 50, I had never lived in an apartment. When you live in a house, you live on your own. When you invent a condominium, you are living in a collective. And you know… when you bring any group together, you have very different ideas. Here, for example, they have stolen the emergency lighting, the main gate has been broken three times, people throw rubbish on the stairs… and you can’t teach adults how to behave.

I had to give my dog away. I had a dog who I loved, and I had to give him away. So we sacrificed ourselves on the issue of animals, the issue of living together with others. There are thieves, they break the main gate and then it’s you who has to pay… there are lots of factors. Living collectively is difficult.

Reporter: Jessica Mota

Photographer: Jessica Mota

My journey

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