The “door-to-door” movement visited the gates of the Bank of Portugal to demand “housing for all”.

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On the day that the European Central Bank (ECB) announced further interest rate hikes, the Porta a Porta movement today distributed leaflets outside the Bank of Portugal to demand measures to guarantee “housing for all”.

Between the indifference of people in a hurry, the curiosity, especially of tourists, and the acceptance of leaflets, especially by young people, André Escoval, spokesman for the Porta a Porta movement, and two companions, were today, from 6 p.m., in front of the Bank of Portugal, in the Rua do Ouro, Lisbon, to distribute a small leaflet with a text protesting the lack of measures to solve the cross-cutting problem of housing in the country.

For those who stopped to listen to a brief explanation of the presence of the three young people in front of a banner identifying the movement, they also left a call to take part in the big demonstration, scheduled for 6:00 pm on June 22, at Largo Camões, which will bring together the associations and collectives that make up the platform responsible for the demonstration in six cities across the country on April 1.

Ana Caleia, passing through the city center, stopped to exchange a few words with André Escoval and vent about the situation she’s going through.

“There are no houses. I’m looking for a house and there are no houses to rent. The landlord wants to throw me out. I’m already paying 600 euros in rent and he wants 800 euros and my pension won’t allow it,” the tenant told Lusa from the municipality of Oeiras, where she has already been to the town hall to ask for accommodation for herself and her sick son, and where she has been on a waiting list for two years.

He has until September to find a solution, which he hasn’t been able to find even outside his own municipality, where he has already searched and found similar prices for a one-bedroom apartment, not the two-bedroom he needs. If he doesn’t find anything that suits him and that he can pay for, he could stay on the street with his son, as the landlord has offers of 950 euros for the house he currently lives in, which is motivating his request to leave.

André Escoval, of the Door to Door movement, which today sought to mark the eighth consecutive rise in ECB interest rates, with an impact on mortgages, stressed that the concerns of this group are wide-ranging, and that their demands include wage and pension increases, an end to evictions when families have no decent alternative, or the use of the public bank, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, to improve the terms offered on mortgages.

“It is necessary and urgent to stop this increase in interest rates. It has a direct impact on people’s lives. Families are being suffocated by housing repayments, whether through credit or rent. This is unacceptable. In addition to today’s increase, it has been announced that there will be another increase in July. It’s catastrophic for people’s lives and it’s causing a lot of problems, which is why it’s so urgent to take to the streets and be here,” said the young activist.

As for the many foreigners he approached, most of whom showed no interest in the leaflet, he said they were a “reflection of the fact that the city center is no longer inhabited” by those who live and work in the city, leading to rising housing costs, including on the outskirts.

“We go to the outskirts, looking for cheaper houses, and even there, the cost of housing is unbearable. And the city center is left to tourism. We need to reverse this policy. The city is made for people, the city is made for work, the city is made to develop the country and we need it to be inhabited again. Without reviewing prices, i.e. interest and rents, it’s not possible to reverse this policy”, he declared.

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