More than 100 people live in shops and garages in Braga


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The City Council admits that more than a hundred cases have been discovered, of which 20 have been flagged. The issue was raised in the executive meeting by the PS councilor.

The mayor of Braga revealed this Monday that in the last month and a half have been detected more than a hundred residents living in shops or garages, a total of 20 situations flagged, and called for the denunciation of these cases.

“We are talking about 20 situations. In total, we are talking about more than a hundred people who would be in an illegal housing situation, especially in the urban area. Unfortunately, it is a more common situation in the urban communities where there are more commercial spaces, also at the base of the buildings, and it is these spaces that are normally used,” said Ricardo Rio (PSD), speaking to journalists after the Town Hall meeting.

Ricardo Rio (PSD)

Ricardo Rio (PSD)

The issue was raised during the executive meeting by PS councilor Ricardo Sousa, who asked the municipality if it was aware and what it was doing about this “sensitive problem”, disagreeing with the mayor’s call for people to report these illegal situations, considering that this would be a step backward.

“The logic of the complaint is a logic of protection of the underprivileged. In a situation like this, the use of a commercial space, a garage or an attic for residences for an unreasonable number of people, even one would be enough, but in this case they are significant amounts of people, it is a situation where there is an abuse of the need that people have to find housing, by those who try to take an undue economic advantage of that very situation,” replied Ricardo Rio.

According to the mayor, who reports an “intensification” of this reality “in recent times”, there is no “negative connotation with the logic of denunciation”.

“The logic of reporting is a facilitator for the City Council and other institutions, because this is not only the responsibility of the City Council – namely, the monitoring of these people is also the responsibility of Social Security, BragaHabit – to be able to act and respond as soon as possible,” said Rio.

The president stressed that the municipality “can not go knocking from door to door” to verify the existence of this type of cases.

“If anyone has knowledge, whether it is the municipal council, a citizen or any other entity, we would obviously appreciate it if they could send us this information so that we can act as quickly as possible, as we have done so far in the cases that have been reported to us,” said Ricardo Rio.

For the mayor of Braga, this type of situation requires “an emergency response”, which has been “articulated” with BragaHabit – the municipal housing company of Braga – and with the Social Security, “which have responded to the needs of these residents”.

Arch of the New Gate (Arco da Porta Nova) in Braga, Portugal
Arch of the New Gate (Arco da Porta Nova) in Braga, Portugal

Ricardo Rio tells us that among the more than one hundred people who have been signaled, there are immigrants, but also Portuguese, who take the opportunity to “demystify” an idea.

“There are immigrants, but not only immigrants. This is an issue that needs to be demystified. This is not an issue specifically related to immigration. There are Bracarenses who, for example, [are in] situations of eviction from long-term rental contracts that suddenly began to have values much more expensive than what people could afford, and people can’t go to the market and access the conditions that exist today,” the mayor explained.

As for immigration, Ricardo Rio says it is mostly “unprepared immigration”.

“In recent years, we have benefited from a very qualified immigration, with more economic power, with a lot of information about reality. Especially in the last few months, we have seen many people who came without any basis to be integrated, and it’s not even a question of being able to access a job or not, it’s actually not being able to access the housing market and then be subjected to this type of situation,” said the mayor of Braga.


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