Housing deficit and housing opportunities: implementing collective ownership in the centre of São Paulo, Brazil. The case of FICA fund

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In the centre of São Paulo, numerous people are excluded from the legal formal housing market, because of too high rent prices in proportion to average salaries. In fact, the speculation on housing prices is widespread, determining unsustainable rent prices for poor and lower-middle classes, who often must live in peripheries while working in the centre, and suffer from long daily commuting. Exclusion from housing market firstly regards the lowest income people, but they need comprehensive social support, and not just an adjustment of the proportion salary/rent, to improve their living conditions. Nevertheless, it is possible to invert this trend thanks to non-profit initiatives of collective ownership. In fact, in 2015, in São Paulo a citizens’ formal association created the Community Real Estate Fund for rent. It is legally able to collect donations in cash and in real estate, buy and refurbish an apartment, and rent it to people at risk of exclusion. Throughout further donations and an economically sustainable, but equal financial management, the Fund will be able to buy other apartments and rent them to other people. Assuming a community-based approach to private property, private interests can be replaced by non-profit ownership, providing accessible houses to the members of the community. Rent prices can be defined with respect to the minimum salary, and so, not overcoming a critical threshold, including more people in the housing market.
Collective ownership, social rental housing, São Paulo, Brazil