Tents in front of the BoP in Braga to demand affordable housing

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I protest against the “prohibitive” prices of house rents and the “pornographic” rise in mortgage loan installments.

Two dozen people set up tents this Thursday and “camped” in front of the Bank of Portugal, in Braga, in a protest against the “prohibitive” prices of house rents and the “pornographic” increase in instalments of housing loans.

“This way, living in tents is really going to be the only solution for many Portuguese,” said the spokesman for the “Same Old Same Old” movement, which promoted the protest.

As an example, Cândido Almeida said that, currently, in Braga, it is not possible to rent an apartment, “no matter how small it may be, for less than the national minimum wage.

“The Government must take robust measures and steps, to guarantee everyone the right to decent housing enshrined in the Constitution,” he added.

Tents in front of the BoP in Braga to demand affordable housing
Ativistas acampados frente à dependência do Banco de Portugal na praça da República, participam numa ação de protesto contra a crise da habitação, em Braga, 16 de fevereiro de 2023. HUGO DELGADO/LUSA

For Cândido Almeida, it is necessary to “act with courage” and “present the bill” to those who present “huge profits, such as banking, real estate speculation, and the big economic groups.

“Always the same people paying is just not good enough,” he stressed.

This protest took place on the same day that the Council of Ministers has an agenda exclusively dedicated to housing matters.

Cândido Almeida explained that the Bank of Portugal was the “backdrop” chosen to alert to the “pornographic” increase in interest rates for home loans.

Tents in front of the BoP in Braga to demand affordable housing
Ativistas acampados frente à dependência do Banco de Portugal na praça da República, participam numa ação de protesto contra a crise da habitação, em Braga, 16 de fevereiro de 2023. HUGO DELGADO/LUSA

“In many cases, the benefit has almost doubled, leaving many, many people in dire straits. Someday, these tents could really be the solution,” he concluded.

The Council of Ministers today approves a new legislative package on housing with measures aimed at stimulating the rental market, as well as speeding up and encouraging construction.

The holding of a Council of Ministers dedicated to housing was announced in January by the Prime Minister, António Costa, during an interview on RTP, with the Government assuming affordable housing as one of today’s biggest challenges.

The details of the measures that the Council of Ministers will approve today are not known, but the Prime Minister has signaled that the package will include solutions aimed at making more land available for housing construction, incentives for private construction and tax incentives for landlords to put houses on the rental market, as well as support for young people to rent houses.

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